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What are your secrets for making healthy food fast?

Comments are starting to heat up . . . keep them coming!

We all know we’d eat better if it was faster to do so.  Sometimes we are busy, overwhelmed, tired, stressed, and overbooked .

Work can get demanding, and by the time we get home at the end of the day…we’re ready for dinner!  So the question of the day is “What are your secrets for making healthy food fast?”  We’re not talking here about mixing up Hamburger Helper or other convenience foods that are loaded with empty calories, artificial ingredients, and cheap carbs.  Yes, I’m being a bit of a snob….because I’m looking for ideas too….and I want them to be good for me. 

Here are a couple of example of fast, healthy foods that include convenience foods.  I make soup quite often and I usually start with a box of organic broth, a bag of frozen vegetables, and a variety of fresh veggies thrown in (like garlic and onions, spinach, pea pods, green peppers, and carrots). I often dump in a can of something like  beans or tomatoes.  On occasion when I’m super busy, I buy bagged pre-washed lettuce, broccoli, and shredded carrots as salad starters.  Then I add additional ingredients.  I don’t do this all the time because I’m frugal and like to make my own “bagged greens” and  veggies for quick salads. 

You can also use leftovers from takeout as a side dish and prepare the rest at home.  I rarely eat the entire entrée of Pad Thai, so I have it again the next day with some veggie side dishes.  Makes me really happy….to have it twice! 

Get in the habit of eating only half of your entrée … because serving sizes are usually huge and we don’t need to eat that much.  Ask for a “to-go” box before you take your first bite.  Include the request for a box in your order.  Occasionally they forget, so you may have to ask again for a box.  You don’t need to strictly box up half of it, but eyeball the portion and determine how much would make a great meal the next day.

My personal rules for using convenience foods as part of my meal plan are these:

  1. They may be frozen, but they don’t contain preservatives or other additives.
  2. They may be boxed, but they don’t contain artificial ingredients, empty calories, or cheap carbs.  I make an exception for tapioca pudding because I love it so much.  We all bend the rules now and then!
  3. They may be takeout, but they are for the most part healthy for me.

Your turn!  Do you combine healthy convenience foods (boxed, packaged, frozen, take out) with fresh foods? Share your secrets.  We need ideas….so please share at the comment link below.  Thanks!

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  1. Rebecca says:

    By using the George Foreman grill, I can have a meal ready in less than 15 minutes.
    Steam vegetables, grilled meat and a salad.

  2. Hi Rebecca – two questions: is the Foreman grill hard to keep clean? Do you basically eat a meat, steamed veggie, and salad every night?

    Thanks for sharing these ideas! Cheryl

  3. Rebecca says:

    The grill is really easy to clean. I have white washcloths that I use in the kitchen. When I finish with the grill and while it is still hot, I lay a wet cloth on it and close it. When suppers over, the grill just wipes off.

    If I’m not using the GF grill, then it’s the crockpot or a throw together stir fry type use up the bits and pieces. But yes, we usually have a main dish (whether meat or beans), vegetables and a salad of some type.

    Tonight we had Salsa chicken (done in the crockpot–3 pieces chicken breast tenders, 3 leg quarters and 1 24 oz jar of salsa cooked on low for 10-12 hours with corn and salad.
    The chicken is shredded and we had it on top of whole wheat bread.

  4. Rebecca – were you by any chance a home ec student? You’re wise like one. I love your ideas. Keep them coming! Cheryl

  5. Maggie says:

    Crockpot works best for me. I eat alone half the time, my husband likes totally different food and I’m not a keen cook! So I make enough for 10 serves, freeze it in portions, cook rice and do the same. I can still use Japanese noodles (which I love) iso rice. I also use mixed chunky cut frozen vegs and add some fresh things in season. Frozen vegs are prepared very fresh, probably fresher than my local greengrocer who goes to market 3 times a week. Also I gues they might use produce that’s in season, not irradiated.

    Do you get warnings in the USA if fresh produce has been irradiated? We don’t in Australia and I don’t like the thought of what that does to the fruit & vegs. What do you think about that?

  6. Hi Maggie – no we don’t get warnings for iradiated produce and I sure wish we did! I think all kinds of crazy things are being done with our food to make them look better….and we have no idea about these things! Well some people know, but the majority of us are in the dark. There’s a movement afoot to force growers and packagers to have more truth in production and packaging and that’s causing all kinds of upset. Cheryl


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