The first thing I do is meal prep. Meal prep is a "popular-again" movement where you make large amounts of the same meal and freeze it so you can eat one per day or every other day. Sure, the food is frozen and you have to reheat it, but you get to pick the ingredients, you prepare it in your hopefully clean and safe kitchen, and this is how you get all the health benefits, you save money, you save time because you cook only once, and you don't have to worry about takeout issues such as low quality oil, expired ingredients and questionable kitchen cleanliness- all potential risks of takeout and delivery. However, I put a spin on it that makes this a smarter way to go. Many people meal prep a main dish together with all the sides. Me, I meal prep a main dish only. Often, I use my pressure cooker for that. I would do lots of korma, butter chicken, beef chilli or another similar recipe, divide it up and that's it. So one day I can quickly fry some cauliflower rice and have it with a portion of meal prep butter chicken. Another day, I can have my beef chilli with a salad on the side, or a keto bun, or both. Also, another good thing to meal prep is soup- especially because there is nothing better than having some delicious homemade chicken and veggie soup on hand any time you need it. Oh, and I put so much chicken in my soup that it eats like a meal. Try getting that at any store out there- good luck! ;)
Another thing I do on a regular basis is use premade sauces. When I do not have time to make everything from scratch, I will just go ahead and pick my favorite sauces up in jars. I do this for butter chicken, Thai curry, Chicken Cacciatore and more. If you think it's a huge step down from making it all from scratch, think again. I get tons of variety this way, I save time, and often the resulting dishes are still better than what you get at most fast food places. If you have not tried this on a regular basis, it will take some trial and error to find your favorite brands, but you will rarely have to throw food away in the process. Finally, you can always modify existing sauces by adding individual or spice mixes, garlic and ginger paste, soy sauce and more.
Speaking of spice mixes, that is another huge shortcut I prefer. I use spice mixes from all over the world on my beef, chicken, salmon and shrimp. If you only had your salmon steaks with salt and maybe pepper, trust me you are missing out. I have had meat and fish every which way thanks to spice mixes and it prevents my cooking from getting boring and repetitive. Boredom and repetition are two main reasons why people fall off the diet wagon and end up doing way too much takeout and delivery. The only thing you have to be careful with, however, is that your spice mixes do not contain too much sugar. Also, watch out as some of them can contain sulphites and other trace ingredients to which you may be sensitive.
Finally, I love meatballs and I make them myself so I can quickly microwave them during the week. A low carb version of meatballs would use ground sunflower seed, almond flour or milled flaxseed instead of bread crumbs. I also like to put some dehydrated onions and shredded carrot in mine, as well as garlic paste, eggs and any spice mix I feel like using. Meatballs are such a delicious versatile food, and they freeze and reheat so well. I make them big and I heat a few up in a sauce, on their own for a sandwich, I reheat a few then crush them and put them in a salad... so many options! You can even add more bread crumb replacement of choice and make a meatloaf instead of meatballs, cool it, slice it, and pack individual slices together with parchment paper in between.
There you have it, dearest readers. Thanks to these approaches and a few more tricks, I eat extremely well and I have complete control over what I put in my system. Yes, I do rely on my freezer and microwave, but complaints about frozen food mostly come up either because most microwave food in stores is poor quality, or because food was frozen for two long. I freeze a lot of my weekday meals (weekends and all fresh and from scratch), but they are high quality meals from the start and also they do not remain frozen longer than two weeks max. Still not convinced it is a good way to go for at least some of your food? Then, what are you having for dinner tonight? ;)