Three Steps to a Healthier Dinner
Are you too busy to make a nutritious supper? Not anymore! Start with a few choice ingredients and you’ll have power meals on the table in a flash.
By stocking your fridge and pantry and doing a bit of advance prep, you can throw together a healthy and satisfying supper. Here’s how:
STEP ONE: CHOOSE A GREEN BASE
Want a hot meal? Place one cup of fresh baby spinach on each plate. Microwave on high, uncovered, until wilted, about 1 minute.
For a cold dinner: place one cup packed fresh salad greens on each plate. Try mixed greens, baby kale or arugula.
WHY IT’S GREAT: Green vegetables add volume and fiber to your meal without loading up on calories. Plus, spinach is high in antioxidants and iron, and dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as potassium.
STEP 2: ADD A COMPLEX CARB
Go with 1/2 cup (about the size of a billiard ball) of a cooked whole grain, such as brown rice, barley, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, faro, bulgur or millet. Or use a cooked starchy vegetable, like fresh corn, potatoes, or winter squash.
WHY IT’S GREAT: Whole grains and starchy vegetables contain fiber, which not only fills you up, but also improves your digestive health and may even lower cholesterol and control blood sugar.
STEP: PICK A LEAN PROTEIN
Add a 1/2 cup chopped portion or a piece about the size of a deck of cards. Try one of the following foods:
- Grilled or roasted skinless chicken breast
- Cooked lean ground turkey or beef
- Canned or pouched-sealed tuna (Tip: Chunk light tuna tends to have less mercury than solid white.)
- Canned or pouched-sealed salmon (Tip: Buy wild-caught salmon if possible. Research has shown that farm-raised salmon can be higher in potentially harmful contaminants.
- Hard boiled eggs (Tip: Cook eggs over the weekend so you have them on hand all week. Keep them in their shells in the fridge until you’re ready to use them).
- Canned beans such as cannelloni, black or kidney beans or chickpeas
WHY IT’S GREAT: Including protein in your meals is essential because it increases satiety. Protein is also crucial for maintaining strong hair hair and nails, repairing tissues, building enzymes and hormones and forming muscle. Have leftover cooked steak, fish, or pork loin? Feel free to use it. You can also mix and match: If you want meat and beans, for example, have half a portion of each.
With these tips and steps, you can create a healthful, quick and easy week night dinner in no time and your Brentwood, MO personal trainer will be happy you did.
For more information on how to cook healthy meals, contact Maurie Cofman, C.E.S. personal trainer in St. Louis, Brentwood and Clayton, MO.