Putting It Together: Quick, Healthy Meals
“Fast” food doesn’t need to be unhealthy and healthy meals don’t have to be bland. A person can put together quick healthy meals that actually taste delicious. First, they might check out some of the ingredients to put a quick and healthy meal together.
Healthy foods taste good and they’re associated with a lower risk of disease. They’re often rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene and other nutrients and they’re often low in calories, cholesterol and sodium. There are also a great many of them to choose from, for even when making quick healthy meals variety is the spice of life.
Fish is famous for having omega-3 fatty acids, especially cold water, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring. Omega-3 fatty acids lower cholesterol and so protect against heart disease and diseases of the coronary arteries. Fish is also a good source of iron, which protects against anemia. Most fish are also rich in magnesium and potassium, which are important for maintaining healthy blood pressure.
Shellfish like shrimp, oysters and scallops do have a lot of cholesterol, but they also have omega-3 fatty acids like other fish and can help lower the bad cholesterol in the body. They’re also low in saturated fat, which some dietitians say is worse for people than dietary cholesterol. Shellfish also tend to be very high in calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron. Some people like to eat their shellfish raw, which they should be careful about. They should only buy shellfish they plan to eat raw from a reputable fishmonger.
One quick and healthy meal that features fish is:
1 lb. salmon fillet
1 tsp. oregano
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 plum tomato, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
2 tbs. fresh, flat leafed parsley, chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Oil a baking pan and place the fish in the center. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, oregano and garlic. Place on the tomato slices, onion and sprinkle with the parsley. Mix the bread crumbs with the oil and sprinkle on top.
Bake for about 10 minutes until done.
Poultry has lots of protein but it’s lower in total fat and saturated fat than red meat. It’s especially good if the skin and fat are taken off before it’s eaten. Poultry, especially duck and goose, is very high in iron, zinc and niacin. Turkey and chicken have much less fat than duck or goose.
True red meat has a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol, so it should be eaten in moderation. Some people say that if a person eats red meat it should be used as a flavoring for a largely vegetarian dish. But red meat is very rich in iron, especially beef. Pork and lamb also have a lot of iron, and is easily absorbed by the body, unlike the iron in most vegetables. Broiling red meat is healthier than frying it, for broiling allows the fat to drain away from the cut.
Everyone’s says that vegetables are good for a person and everyone’s right. Vegetables have lots of complex carbohydrates and Vitamins A and C while having almost no fat and few calories. They also have fiber, which also guard against diseases like heart disease and colon cancer. The potassium and magnesium in vegetable not only help prevent high blood pressure but also give the person a shot of energy. Different types of vegetables are richer in some vitamins and nutrients than others. For example, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and other orange yellow vegetables are high in beta carotene, which turns into Vitamin A in the body.
Green leafy vegetables are also good sources of carotene, as well as magnesium, potassium and calcium. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli have indole glucosinolates and other cancer fighting compounds. Here’s a vegetable recipe:
One large bunch of broccoli
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1 tbs. ginger, sliced
1 tsp. soy sauce
Stir fry the ginger and garlic. Add the broccoli and stir fry until crisp tender. Add the soy sauce and warm through.
Chili peppers have capsaicin, which helps metabolism and might help in losing weight. Sweet peppers are also high in Vitamin C and are better if they’re eaten once they turn red. This is because red peppers have nine times as much vitamin A and twice as much vitamin C as green peppers.
Fruit also have complex carbohydrates, natural sugar, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They’re also good sources of beta carotenes and Vitamin C. Fruits are also low in fat and only have traces of sodium. High levels of sodium also contribute to high blood pressure, which then can lead to kidney disease and heart disease. Here’s a quick healthy meal that’s also a fruit salad:
1 pound of watermelon, sliced, seeded and cut in wedges
1 small pineapple, halved pared and cut into two inch slices. Reserve the top
1 papaya, peeled, and sliced
2 mangoes, peeled and sliced
2 oranges, peeled and sliced
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
Pulp of 6 passion fruits
2 tbs. sugar
Pour the passion fruit pulp, sugar and one half cup of water into a sauce pan. Bring to a full, rolling boil and boil for about a minute. Remove from heat, strain through a fine strainer into a pitcher and let cool.
Place the pineapple top in the center of a round glass serve dish and arrange the fruit in attractive circles around it. Pour the passion fruit syrup over it and serve at once. Serves six to eight.
John Grant is a blogger for variuos food sites and travels Asia looking for great recipes and quick dinner ideas.