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How To Cook Fast Healthy Meals

Updated on June 14, 2009
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32 Tips and Ideas to Make Healthy Meals for the Family

Healthy, delicious meals can be made easily. This will reduce the temptations to go to fast food restaurants. These tips and ideas will help you prepare healthy food for your family. Keep healthy food staples such as these in your kitchen so you will be able to cook healthy meals anytime you want.

Lean meat
Fresh or frozen vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, carrots, celery
Fresh of frozen fruits – apples, strawberries, banana
Onions, garlic, ginger
Olive oil
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat pasta
Brown rice

1. Use cooking methods that require very little oil. Bake, grill, barbecue, broil, poach, steam, or stir-fry.

2. Use lean meat, and always trim off all visible fat before cooking.

3. Use herbs to give flavorful taste and aroma to your food. Add basil and oregano to your pasta dishes. Add herbs and lemon to fish, and bake it. It’s very delicious and healthy.

4. Use non-stick cookware to limit your fat intake.

5. Whenever possible, steam instead of boil. This is to prevent the water-soluble vitamins to get lost in the water, thus preserving more nutrients.

6. Chop vegetables ahead of time and keep them in containers in the fridge. Keep enough chopped vegetables to last a few days at least. This way when you come home from work you just need to take out the ready-chopped ingredients and add them to your favorite dish.

7. Broccoli, cabbage, carrots and mushrooms are examples of food that can keep longer in the fridge. When you’re in a hurry, you can mix and match different vegetables and make a very fast stir-fry. One of the fastest meals I make is Teriyaki. This is very quick and easy to make. First I saute some onions, then add in the meat (beef, chicken, shrimp, or salmon), then add teriyaki sauce just enough to coat the meat, and add toasted sesame seeds (you can buy sesame seeds that are toasted already). Then I serve with the stir-fried vegetables and hot cooked rice. This is very similar to the teriyaki stir fry in Costco, and it’s really delicious.

8. Replace meat with beans and lentils in recipes. These are also great sources of protein.

9. On recipes calling for white flour, substitute a part of it with whole wheat flour. Sometimes you will not even notice the difference in taste. Some examples are pancakes, muffins or cookies.

10. Replace sugar with yogurt when making smoothies.

11. Add vegetables anywhere possible. Vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Add vegetables in sandwiches and soups. You can add vegetable in baking desserts too. Like for example, make carrot cupcakes instead of chocolate cupcakes.

12. If you’re in a hurry, buy a fresh rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. There are many delicious healthy meals you can make out of it. You can slice it up and serve with vegetables, or toss them into a nice salad. You can also make delicious sandwiches using rotisserie chicken, by adding tomatoes and lettuce on whole wheat bread or bun. Sliced rotisserie chicken is delicious on tortillas too.

13. Crock Pots are a great time saver. Put chicken or beef, add carrots, potatoes, onions and tomato sauce. Leave on low heat for about 7-8 hours, and by the time you get home from work you’ll have a delicious hot meal ready.

14. Wrap sweet potato in aluminum foil and bake it. It is simple, delicious, and healthy.

15. Instead of using salt, season food more with herbs, spices and lemon.

16. If possible, make your own broth instead of buying canned broth.

17. Add healthy ingredients like flax seeds and cranberries to your home-made muffins.

18. Add blueberries to your morning pancakes.

19. Avoid processed meats like salami, bologna, hot dog and bacon. These are loaded with sodium, fats and preservative.

20. Layer your lasagna with meat and vegetables instead of all meat. Examples of vegetables that are great on lasagna are spinach, zucchini, and mushrooms.

21. Limit using ingredients that are high in saturated fat. Saturated fats are fats that are solid at room temperature.

22. Whenever possible, put the soup, stews and gravy in the fridge overnight and skim the fat off the next day. Or use a gravy separator.

23. Revise recipes by using no-fat or low-fat products.

24. Cook fish more often. Substitute fish in place of meat in recipes.

25. Always read the labels at the back of food packages. Choose products with the least amount of salt, sugar, and fats.

26. If you want to use ground beef, use extra lean ground beef. It is a little bit more expensive but is much healthier.

27. Remove skin from chicken before serving.

28. Avoid prepackaged or “instant” food, which are loaded with sodium and fat.

29. Cook big batches and freeze them . This will save you lots of precious time.

30. Use kitchen tools to save you time, such as food chopper, griller, rice cooker, crock-pot, and food processor.

31. Salads are very easy to make. You can come up with a beautiful and very healthy salad in just a few minutes. Wash the vegetables, then use a salad spinner to quickly spin the vegetables dry. There are some salad spinners where you can even use the same bowl to serve the salad on. Then add chopped tomatoes, cucumber, chicken breast, or anything you desire. Top with shredded cheese. When the salad is colorful (red, green, orange) it looks very beautiful and appetizing.

32. Use left-overs to cook lunch or dinner the following day. Today’s left-over baked chicken can be tomorrow’s chicken pasta dish. Today’s left-over stir fry can be tomorrow’s omelette.

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      Melanie Munn 7 years ago

      I love blueberries in my pancakes. If you don't have time to prepare these great nutritious meals yourself, try a meal delivery program.