Americans are becoming more health conscious, due to a variety of factors. Too many of us are overweight or have health conditions that require special dietary considerations. Even people who don’t have health concerns are looking for nutritious recipes that will keep them healthy. Here we have a guide to help you put together menus that are nutritious, tasty and which fall in line with our food budget. Sounds like a tall order, right? If you know the components of a nutritious diet, it becomes easy to serve your taste buds, budget and your health.
We’ve all heard it a thousand times: get your fruits and veggies in abundance. Produce has become quite expensive in the past few months. If you’re stymied over how you might include those 5-9 servings without going broke, here are a few ideas. When you make your menus for the coming week – a must do, BTW – buy only the produce that will appear at meal or snacks that week. For example, if you buy lettuce and tomatoes for salad, make sure it’s used. If you shop without a menu, it’s too easy to impulsively pick up salad fixings because you have a craving for a salad at the moment. Use that produce for sandwich stuffings if you’ve got leftovers after your salad menu is fulfilled. Better yet, plan for the sandwiches, to ensure there’s no waste. If you’ve got a banana getting brown in your fruit bowl, make banana bread and freeze it. Produce generally contains lots of antioxidants, making huge contributions to nutritious recipes.
Complex carbohydrates break down slowly in your system, aid digestive health and help keep the weight off. When you shop for breads, pasta and rice, go for the whole grains. Check the pasta package. Is it made with semolina or durum wheat? That’s a good choice for nutritious recipes. Instead of buying white rice, go for brown or wild rice.
As for protein, did you know that you only need 20 grams of protein a day for good health? Most of us eat far more. You don’t need it. For meats, choose lean over fatty. You don’t need big portions of meat every day. One chicken breast can serve 6 people, when sliced and integrated into a pasta or rice dish. Save your meat money to invest in some produce which can be julienned or diced and tossed into a perfectly nutritious recipe consisting of a bit of meat, veggies and pasta.
Aim for low fat content in a nutritious recipe. If you have a recipe that calls for butter, substitute olive oil, cholesterol free and not artery clogging. In Mediterranean countries, olive oil is the fat of choice and the incidence of heart disease is low. Sour cream? Use the low fat version. If you drink milk, go for low fat. If you’re used to drinking whole milk, you can wean your taste buds by stepping down in the fat content, over time.
Try serving a fruit and cheese plate for dessert a few days a week. This European tradition is healthy and tasty. A dose of calcium and more fruit slipped into the lineup of nutritious recipes!
Tofu has the interesting characteristic of acquiring the taste of what you add to the dish. Instead of using fatty ribs called for in a recipe, such as fried rice, substitute firm tofu, marinated in a sweet and sour sauce for a nutritious recipe that doesn’t compromise on taste.
Cut back on heavily salted dishes with herbal no-salt seasonings, which simulate the taste of salt. Instead of salting a dish of green beans, try substituting thyme or dill for a terrific taste and a nutritious recipe.
There’s no need for a nutritious recipe to be a boring affair! To your good health!