Johns Hopkins Health Alert
5 Time-Saving Tips to Help You Eat Well
From frozen foods to meatless meals, here are five time-saving strategies to help you prepare nutritious meals quickly and easily.
With all the pressures on our time, many of us cut corners. We resort to fast food, restaurant take-out, and frozen entrées that may be loaded with salt, fat, and calories. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
With a little advance thought and planning, you can prepare nutrition-packed meals even on the busiest of days. Here, then, are some of our favorite time-saving strategies.
Nutrition Tip 1 -- Shop the Freezer Aisle
Frozen vegetables are great timesavers. They can be prepared in a few minutes in the microwave or quickly steamed in an inch or two of water. For the best nutritional value, choose frozen vegetables without added sauces and seasonings. You can even select some frozen entrées -- if you peruse the nutrition labels carefully before purchasing. Look for products with less than 4 g of saturated fat and no more than 400–600 mg of sodium.
Nutrition Tip 2 -- Portion and Prepare Ahead of Time
Buy uncooked chicken breasts, fish, or lean meat at the supermarket. When you get home, unpack and repackage it in freezer bags in the portions you need for one meal. Then add marinade and freeze -- be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag to prevent freezer burn. Label and date the items, too. The night before you want to serve the protein, put the bag in the refrigerator to thaw. By dinnertime the next day, all you’ll need to do is grill or broil the entrée.
Nutrition Tip 3 -- Cook Once, Eat Twice
When you’re cooking, make extra for another dinner. It doesn’t take much effort to double a recipe for spaghetti sauce, chili, a casserole, stew, or soup. Freeze the extras in the desired serving size.
Nutrition Tip 4 -- Make Eggs the Center of Attention
Eggs are quick and easy to prepare. Try using eggs or egg substitutes as a main dish at dinner. For instance, create an omelet with low-fat cheese, leftover chili, or Chinese food. Use one whole egg and one to two egg whites to get the volume of two eggs for the cholesterol content of just one.
Nutrition Tip 5 -- Prepare a Meatless Meal
Dinner does not always have to include meat. Instead, try topping a baked potato with a frozen vegetable, beans, and low-fat cheese. You can quickly prepare white and sweet potatoes in the microwave oven. If you prefer the flavor of potatoes baked in a regular oven, cook them halfway in the microwave and then finish them off in the oven.
Posted in Healthy Living on April 14, 2010
Reviewed January 2011
Medical Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute for the advice of a physician. Click here for additional information: Johns Hopkins Health Alerts Disclaimer
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