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Healthy and Quick Meals

8/26 9:45:23

Back in the days of high fat living, many moms had their stand bys for each day of the week. Meat loaf on Monday. Chicken on Tuesday. Spaghetti and meatballs on Wednesday, and so on. Not much variety, but these reliable, familiar recipes were easy to prepare.

Well, the fat focus has changed and more people are becoming serious about being a calorie counter. And with these new realities the nature of the stand by meal has. But there is still a lot to be said for reliable stand bys that you can count on. What follows are substitutes for the old high-fat and high calorie main courses, side dishes and even desserts. To keep these standbys from getting stale, add new spices to keep the tastes interesting. All of these meals are fast, easy and delicious – and very low in fat.

Pizza and Pita-za Specials

Many grocery stores now carry whole wheat pita breads and traditional and whole grain Italian focaccia flat-breads, They’re especially easy to store in your freezer since they lie flat and take up little space, With these you can whip up home-made pizza any time, with less fat and calories than a to go meal from the neighborhood pizzeria.

In fact, making lean pizza takes less time than a pizza delivery. To make a pita-bread pizza, for example, set the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the pita until it's slightly crisp, Add tomato sauce, chopped vegetables and seasonings and then bake briefly until the add ons are heated through. You'll add tasty variations such as low-fat cheese, but basically, that is all there is to it.

Premier Pasta with Variations

Pasta is a popular fast dinner. But to keep it from turning into the same old thing, try mixing and matching pastas, sauces and toppings. Keep different pasta varieties on hand: traditional and whole grain spaghetti, linguine, rotini and wagon wheels for kids.

A simple tomato sauce, whether store brought or homemade, is easy to modify and spark up with new flavors. Add leftovers – cooked chicken or seafood, tofu or a soy-based ground beef substitute, cooked beans, vegetables, fresh herbs, onions and garlic. And with a bit of skim milk or evaporated skim milk you can transform a traditional tomato sauce into a creamy red sauce.

Almost Instant Pilaf

A pilaf has very simple ingredients, all low-fat and nutritious, so you can create an Eastern style, exotically flavored meal in record time.

Saute some onions and garlic, then add a quick cooking grain like instant brown rice or pearled barley, chicken or vegetable broth and a few pinches of herbs. Simmer until the grains are cooked, then sprinkle with finely grated orange or lemon rind.

Oriental Expressions

For another great fast meal option, cook or reheat some brown rice, add Chinese or soba (buckwheat) noodles and top with quickly sauteed vegetables and some chicken, tofu, seafood or legumes and low sodium soy or teriyaki sauce.

Rapid Bake Poultry

You can broil skinless chicken or turkey breasts in just a few minutes, made almost instantly you have the foundation of a fast low-fat and low-calorie meal.

The side dishes for this meal do not take that much longer. It takes a total of five minutes to make couscous and about the same amount of time to steam vegetables. Serve with a tossed salad made with low-fat on nonfat salad dressing and some whole grain bread, and you have a very complete meal in under 30 minutes.

Being a calorie counter and having a low-fat and low-calorie diet doesn't mean taking hours in the kitchen. It also doesn't mean cutting down on variety for ease and quickness in preparation of meals. These handful of healthy stand by meals are just the beginning. See how many variations you can come up with.

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