Secrets to Quick Healthy Meals
I’m hungry. I’m busy. I have 5 minutes to come up with a quick, healthy meal. I want it to taste good, give me energy, and help fulfill my fiber and nutrient requirements – a tall order in 5 minutes.
No time to make whole grains or cook beans every time I eat, or whip out a gourmet meal for that matter. I won’t eat processed food that’s filled with preservatives, bad sources of fat, unwanted sodium, and sugar. Where’s the middle ground between healthy and time limitations? Why are quick healthy meals so hard?
This is how I spend my time, unveiling secrets to quick, healthy meals. I gear my recipes to bridge the gap between both worlds so that I can make great-tasting, healthy-eating a reality. Here’s one I came up with:
Good to Great Ways to Adapt My 5-Minute Healthy Meal
Why is it a great idea to add avocado to any meal? Class? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?
Good fats, like avocado keep hunger away longer because they take two hours longer to burn. They help keep sugar cravings away, too. Always smart to add a good fat into your meal.
Veggie Lover Great Option: Add a side of pre-cut raw or steamed veggies – carrot and celery sticks, broccoli, leafy greens, etc. along with your avocado to quick, healthy meals. If you are a eating this as a main meal vegetarian style, you can certainly eat 1.5 -2 servings (with the avocado) in addition to your veggies to ensure protein intake for the day.
Meat Eater Great Option: Add 2-3 ounces of a lean leftover protein (like chicken, turkey, pork, fish) per serving to expand the meal. An 165 lb person needing an average of 60 g of protein daily would get 24 total g of complete protein by adding 2 ounces of meat per serving, and 31 g by adding 3 ounces, accounting for half of the day’s requirement’s in one meal.
Dairy Lover Good Option: If you love your dairy, add 1 ounce of cheese for your fat (but avocado is a better fat source because it will help burn fat, dairy won’t!). If you add the veggies, this option is better – any meal becomes more nutritious with veggies!
Still An OK Option to Eat Less Often: Eat in/with a whole grain tortilla (with avocado!) – Tortillas are still partially a refined carbohydrate even if made with whole grain flour because they are a flour product, so try to eat one as a complement to the dish and keep the main components of the meal the whole foods (rice and beans). If your diet is balanced eating a whole grain tortilla once a week may be fine for your body – see how it responds.
Many people find that whole grain flour products still cause unwanted weight gain or prevent weight loss – they are still refined to a degree and do not substitute whole grains.
Eat more the brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, millet, barley – grains in their whole form as your main complex carbohydrate source and try to eat the whole grain breads, pastas, and tortillas less often.
Tortilla Chips…To Eat Them or Not To?
People always ask me, “Can I eat this with tortilla chips?” “What if they are organic, healthy ones?”
If you eat a balanced diet and eat tortilla chips on occasion, and if you can eat a handful or two and stop, then sure, have them once in a while.
And if you tend to suck down the whole bag like an uncontrollable rebel force once you start, I’d say, pass on the chips.
Don’t make quick healthy meals harder than they have to be. The trap with the chips is even more dangerous than the whole grain tortilla – they will more quickly break down into simple sugars, and like sugar they become addictive, causing your blood sugar to spike, making you crave more sugar. Be strong Luke – don’t give in. When you eat them, you undo some of your great work.
When people tell me they got hungry eating the rice and beans, I tell them it was either the chips, the lack of avocado (good fat), or the lack of meat or veggies, or all three at fault – not the rice and beans. Those two whole foods are a great foundation for any meal – you just need to find the balance your body needs with other foods and build your meals from there!