One of the many reasons I hear from people about why they don’t try more plant-based foods is the time it takes to make a meal.

Many people envision spending endless hours slicing and dicing and cooking. But in today’s world, that’s no longer true.

I have several go-to lunches, for example, that are really easy to make. One is to simply open a can of pinto beans and pour it over brown rice (which can be bought microwave-ready). Then I top that with salsa that I’ve also purchased pre-made at the grocery store.

Pre-made guacamole can also be purchased and used to top the salsa, beans and rice bowl that I’ve just created in a matter of minutes.

I mean, how long does it take to open a can and run the microwave for 90 seconds?

Another favorite lunch of mine is a banana and peanut butter sandwich. Sometimes I might throw a few spinach leaves on the sandwich as well.

That takes only as long to make as it takes to spread the peanut butter and slice the banana.

I do admit that I also tend to eat a salad at every meal, even with my oatmeal in the morning. But again, salads are easy to make when ingredients are all purchased pre-washed and pre-cut.

Greens, broccoli, carrots, peppers, onions and other veggies can all be purchased already sliced and diced. Then all a person has to do is grab a handful from each bag and mix it into a bowl to create an easy to make and wonderful salad.

Pour a little infused-vinegar on top and you have the perfect salad dressing. Some days my dinner might be just a big salad topped with beans that, again, can come right out of the can, and salsa. All prepared without any cutting or dicing or referring to complicated recipes.

Another option that can help to make meals easier is to buy steam-in-the-bag veggies. That makes getting those veggies in so much easier.

There’s no slicing and dicing. That’s already done for you. All you have to do is put the bag in the microwave, heat it and eat it.

Finally, there are, of course, times when I want something more than ready-made foods. But when I do, I batch cook. That is, I make a big quantity of a recipe and then freeze the extra food in one-serving containers for future use.

Then when I want that in the future, I’ve already done all the work. All I have to then do is remove it from the freezer and microwave.

J Lanning Smith is a local freelance writer focused on the whole food, plant-based way of eating.