quick and easy meals

How to Make Quick and Easy Meals

Ah, the never-ending quest for dinner inspiration – a journey that can leave even the most responsible adults feeling a bit defeated. And it’s even worst if you’re trying to make healthier options.

Fear not, fellow culinary adventurers, for I present to you my time-saving formula for quick, easy and healthy meals.

Step 1. Pick your Carbs

In the realm of culinary decision-making, the meticulous selection of the primary carbohydrate component stands as a critical art form. Pasta, rice, couscous. The options are endless. But when you’re trying to make it healthier consider choosing whole grains (like brown rice, oats, quinoa), beans and lentils or starchy veggies (like sweet potatoes and pumpkin).

Step 2. Pick your Protein

When it’s time to choose a protein source you have two options: animal or vegetarian. Lean meats, such as skinless poultry, fish, and lean cuts of beef or pork, offer a protein-rich foundation without excess saturated fats. And don’t forget eggs and dairy products (like Greek yogurt and cheese). On the vegetarian front, a variety of plant-based sources, including legumes, tofu, tempeh, and beans, prove to be excellent alternatives.

Step 3. Pick your Veggies

When it comes to vegetable selection, the magic lies in embracing a vibrant spectrum of colors and varied forms. Fresh produce, like crisp green broccoli or vibrant orange bell peppers, brings a burst of flavor and essential nutrients. And let’s not forget the convenience of frozen vegetables, such as mixed peas and carrots or spinach, which retain their nutritional value and add versatility to your culinary creations. Canned options, like diced tomatoes or chickpeas, provide a pantry-friendly alternative without compromising on nutritional benefits.

Bonus: Dress it up

Now, it’s time to bring your dish to life. Use fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, or rosemary, and spices such as cumin, paprika, or turmeric to add flavor to your dish. Also, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil can enhance both taste and texture, imparting a luxurious touch. And for acidity and brightness, vinegar or a squeeze of lemon cut through richness and elevate your dish.

The beauty of this culinary escape plan lies in its simplicity. Mix and match your carbs, protein, and veggies, then add a dressing for that extra flair. It’s like creating a dinner symphony with just a few well-chosen notes. Too easy, right? 😎

So, next time the kitchen blues hit, remember: the culinary world is your oyster, and you’ve got the tools to crack it open. Happy cooking, my responsible adult friends – may your dinners be delightful and your dishes dance with flavor! 🍽️💃

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Vegetarian Kibbeh

Kibbeh is a Middle Eastern type of meatloaf. It is usually made of bulgur, minced onions and minced red meat, but this version calls soy meat (meatless beef, from Trader Joe’s) instead of the red meat. Besides being exotic and delicious, it is also a nutritious dish, since it is made with bulgur (instead of bread crumbs).


What’s in Season: Sweet Potatoes

Eating local produce that is in season is not only good for the environment; it is also good for you. By choosing to purchase fruits and vegetables that are in season you get fresh produce that is at its peak and have a better taste. In addition, products in season are usually cheaper. October brings us apples, cranberries, grapes, pumpkins, winter squashes, and sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes are a great alternative to regular potatoes. They are rich in vitamins A and C, manganese, and phytochemicals. They are also a good source of fiber and potassium. Despite their sweet taste, sweet potatoes are low in calories. Plus, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index, meaning that they won’t cause a spike in blood sugar.

Barley and Veggies Stir-Fry

In a large pan, put a splash of oil and a tablespoon of grated ginger. Cook it until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Then, add 1 cup of shredded vegetables (I use broccoli stalks, carrots and purple cabbage), 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (low-sodium is better), 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of honey. Cook the veggies for a couple of minutes, stirring from time to time. Finally, add 1 cup of cooked barley, mixing well. Sprinkle a handful of crushed cashew nuts and serve with a protein source of your choice. I like it with sautéed fish and fresh oranges, but it also goes well with shrimp, chicken breast and pork tenderloin. Yield two servings.

Meal Replacement Options

It is fact that to achieve weight-loss, one must make dietary changes. The options are vast when it comes to diet, but the real important factor is to consume less calories than you burn. In order to reduce caloric intake, many people reach for meal replacement options available at grocery/health food stores. But are they effective? According to a recent study[1], even one portion-controlled meal replacement per day reduces daily caloric intake significantly and may lead to weight-loss in the long run.

Barley “Rice”

With the current news about inorganic arsenic found in rice and rice products, many of you may be looking for healthy alternatives that combine nutrition and flavor. If so, I’d suggest you try barley. Barley is a grain that has a nutty flavor similar to brown rice. It is a great source of fiber and protein, low in fat and cholesterol free. It also provides many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. In addition, barley has a low Glycemic Index (GI), which means that it is digested slowly, thus not causing a spike in blood sugar levels. But beware! Barley contains gluten, so if you have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, you should discuss it with your health care provider before introducing it into your diet. For a whole grain alternative to brown rice, look for minimally processed varieties such as hulled or hulless barley. Pearl barley undergoes more processing, so it loses some of its nutritional content and is not considered to be a whole grain.

Chicken and Beans Salad

This is high-protein salad (from beans, chicken, and pine nuts), yet a light and fresh dish that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. It is also rich in fiber and antioxidants, while low in fat. This recipe yields a reasonable portion that will make you feel satisfied for hours. In addition, it is quick and easy to prepare.

Super Shake

Here is an amazing idea for a quick breakfast or afternoon snack. This shake is a complete balanced meal with one serving of fruits, one serving of veggies, healthy fats, and protein. It is a thick and creamy smoothie which can satisfy your cravings for something sweet while filling you up.


Gluten-free Pancakes

This recipe yields light fluffy pancakes with a nice crispy crust. For the batter, mix 1 cup of brown rice flour, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of baking soda, and a pinch of salt. In a separate bowl, combine 2 eggs with 1 cup of buttermilk. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, whisking to combine. Makes four five-inch pancakes. For a balanced breakfast, serve it with cottage cheese and fresh fruit, drizzled with a teaspoon of honey.



Breakfast Parfait

Here is another breakfast option under 300 calories. To keep calories at bay, go light on energy-dense ingredients such as granola and honey. Instead, indulge on bigger portions of fresh fruit, which provides lots of nutrients for just a few calories. Good options are strawberries, peaches, raspberries, blueberries, apples, and pears. These fruits have a very low calorie-density and can be consumed in satisfying portions.


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