Have you ever gotten through a meal thinking, “I wish I had healthier options to add to this meal?” Many of us live in that predicament on a regular basis. We get through a meal and feel remorse, knowing it could have been more nutritious. However, there are some fantastic and easy options available to make meals healthier. Here are some delicious and easy ways to implement healthy choices without changing the meals you make on a regular basis.
This is a wonderful option for soups, stews and pastas. Two great examples of green vegetables are spinach and kale. These vitamin rich vegetables easily compliment a number of dishes. Simply chop and toss a handful of spinach of kale into your dish towards the conclusion of cooking your meal. To save time, you can buy chopped spinach and kale in the frozen food section of your grocery store. Also, since you won’t use very much kale or spinach in your dishes, you will have plenty leftover to use in future meals and ready to use anytime you need them.
Spinach and kale, when served in this form have a non-imposing flavor. Both are strong sources of Vitamins A, K, Copper, Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Both Lutein and Zeaxanthin are known for promoting healthy cell function in the eyes, providing a great antidote in protecting against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Adding nuts to your meals is simple and easy, and provides an ideal way to meet nutritional needs. One option is adding a “crust” to your meats and fish. Many find this to be a healthy alternative to the usual breading or breadcrumb crust. To create a crust with nuts, you will need a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin or meat tenderizer (be sure to sure the flat and not serrated side!). Place the nuts inside the bag and seal it. Once sealed, either use your rolling pin or the tenderizer to crush the nuts to a nice crumble. Next, you want to lightly rinse the meat or fish with water, then blanche in the crushed nuts. For a fish entree idea, try macadamia nuts and tilapia. A great meat option is chicken encrusted with cashews.
Nuts have excellent health benefits. Being a heart healthy option, many nuts contain fiber, unsaturated fats, Vitamin E and many other supplements.
Using spices in your meals can not only create a healthier dish, but enhance the flavor of your dishes from good to great. You will need to make sure that the spice you choose complements the dish. If unsure, smell or taste the spice before adding it. One great spice to use is turmeric. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties through Chinese and Indian traditional medicine, this spice is fantastic when used in egg dishes and curry. This spice also creates a wonderful color, as it is a delightful shade of a warm orange.
Now that we have a few ideas on how to enhance our meals with quick and easy options, let’s try to revise a common lunch time meal-salad. Normally, a salad would consist of lettuce, croutons, dressing and maybe a cucumber and tomato. Here is one way to boost your nutrition, and add protein and value to your midday meal.
Chicken Almond Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 cup of chicken breast, chopped
2 cups of lettuce
1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 clementine orange, peeled
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
One handful of slivered almonds
Your choice of dressing to taste (Marie’s Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing is a great choice)
To make things easier, you can find a prepared chicken breast in the meat section of your grocery store. This will make the preparation very simplistic.
We took this salad and made a few adjustments. Omitting the croutons and replacing them with almonds, added Vitamin E, potassium and calcium. Adding the chicken breast and cheese provides you with protein, warding off unnecessary snacking. Including cranberries and oranges to your salad adds flavor and also provides you with antioxidants and Vitamin C.
There are many ways we can add nutrition to our everyday meals. The key is to experiment, be creative and have fun discovering food combinations. Remember to actively think of your meal the next time you eat. Using the examples you have read, encourage and challenge yourself to change and add one thing to your meal. You may find this to be the start of a new and healthier chapter in your life.