Tag: quick meals

Healthy “Fast Food”

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The Deception 

You know how it goes, you get off work, hungry and tired. Dinner is looming on the horizon and the last thing that you want to do is cook. As you drive past the local fast food chains, you think that you could just zip through there, grab something wonderful and go! Problem solved. Maybe not.

Tick-Tock 

The first sign of trouble is the endless wait to order. While drive-thru windows are supposed to be quick, it’s not unusual to sit at that menu sign for several minutes. Then the person on the other side of that sign can’t seem to understand what you’re trying to order. After several exchanges that take more time, you proceed to the window to, hopefully, retrieve your food only to sit there for a few more minutes.

Score!

The server finally locates your bag and takes your debit card and you are on your way. All you can think about is how slick you are because you managed dinner without cooking. As you unwrap the goodies, you realize that you must have someone else’s order because this is not what anyone in your family eats.

Reality Check

After you spend all this time trying to save time, you almost run out of time to eat. In less time than it took to buy bad food, you could have easily prepared a good, home cooked meal. This strategy works for every meal, not just dinner. A lot of people run out of the house without eating breakfast, thinking that they will “grab something at the drive-thru”. What usually happens here is you either have to pull away without your food to avoid being late for work or you just don’t stop and by noon you’re famished and eat everything in sight. Avoiding packing a lunch to carry is also a mistake. Then the office doughnuts and cupcakes are way too appealing. If this sounds familiar, you might want to change your ways to avoid blood sugar lows and the ensuing binge eating that very well may follow.

Breakfast

I just posted a review on Cabot Greek Yogurt. You can add in any number of mix-ins  to make this a very quick, nutritious breakfast. Read the article for ideas to make this great yogurt rock. You can use any full-fat, no sugar added, Greek yogurt to make an excellent breakfast.

Oatmeal has been a breakfast staple for a long time. You can use the quick oats or the old fashioned variety. They both cook quickly and have no added sugars. The flavored instant oatmeals quite often contain added sugars and come in small servings that don’t satisfy. Cook your own in about the same amount of time and add sugar-free toppings to create a breakfast  that will hold you until mid-morning at a price that you can easily afford. Add nuts, sugar-free syrup or Swerve Brown Sugar Replacement for a taste sensation from your childhood.

Eggs are quite versatile and easy to cook in a flash. Scramble them for a fast dose of protein or boil them on an off day and keep them in the fridge and just toss them in your bag in the morning.

A protein bar can be a quick start in the morning. There are many to choose from. David reviewed Built Bars and honestly, they just may be the best. You have to order them, so if that’s a hindrance for you, you can find several in-store that you might like. “One” bars are readily available and come in several flavors that are good. You can read a review of these bars here.

I like to have a protein shake in the mornings. You can choose any protein powder and milk combination that you like as long as it’s sugar-free. Be careful to read labels on these products. When I first began using protein powder, I found a vanilla flavored powder that I liked. To my horror, I  soon discovered that it contained 27 grams of added sugars! Read those labels! You can add peanut butter powder if you like peanut butter. It will thicken your shake nicely. A Tablespoon of coconut oil will give your shake a great consistency and will also add a healthy punch to your oatmeal. It contains MCT’s, medium-chain triglycerides which have been found to give you an energy boost and increase athletic endurance. They are also believed to help with weight loss by reducing the appetite and providing a sense of fullness.

Lunch

I always have a bag of food with me at work. I’m known for eating all the time. I’m rarely hungry for more than a few minutes. I carry home-cooked roast beef that cooked overnight in my crock pot and a microwaved sweet potato, red beans and ground beef turned into sugar-free baked beans or tuna salad made with boiled eggs, mayonnaise and an apple. I also carry individual servings of mixed nuts, string cheese, yogurt, apples or berries and protein bars. I never go hungry and I’m not ravenous when I  get off work. If I’m a bit hungry, I  always have a snack in my bag to see me home without being tempted by the drive-thru. I carry coffee or grab a cup from the urn that my boss leaves for us, always black, and I don’t have to walk into the snack minefield of a convenience store just to get a caffeine fix.

Dinner

One of the quickest dinners around is a hamburger steak and a baked potato with canned green beans. You can have this filling and nutritious meal ready as quickly as you can sit in any drive-thru. David once fixed a sirloin steak, from frozen, a baked potato and green beans in 12 minutes. There’s almost no way that you can get out of a drive-thru in less than 12 minutes. He placed the steak in a cast iron skillet, seared it, covered it and let it simmer with just a little water added until it was done. By the time it was ready, so were the baked potato and green beans. You can thaw salmon under cold running water and pan sear it in about 20 minutes. You can cook pork chops on an off day or put a roast in the crock pot along with some veggies for a hot meal sitting on your counter when you walk in the door. Canned veggies and potatoes cooked in the microwave will round out any meal. Frozen, unbreaded chicken tenders will cook in a cast iron skillet in about 20 minutes and they’re much better than the tenders that you get in a fast food restaurant that are coated with high carbohydrate breading.

Your Choice

Don’t be misled by the group-think that healthy food has to be time consuming to prepare. Never go hungry because you are short on time. There’s always a way to eat healthy if you just make it a priority. Plan ahead anduy what you need at the grocery store to cook at home. Take advantage of your off days and prepare what you can to have something ready to carry with you. Nutrition is the foundation of your overall health. As Mom said, “You are what you eat.”

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