Many of us live a very fast paced life – sadly not in the same way as celebrities and the super rich, who are jetting from one place to another with a cook on hand to prepare their meals. Most regular people are stuck in a vicious circle that combines a whirlwind of chores, family commitments, work commitments, and more, leaving us with little time to think about preparing healthy meals for ourselves and out families. Many countries have seen sharp rises in obesity and steady declines in health, which goes some way towards reflecting the state of today’s ‘fast food’ and ‘convenience food’ diets.
For many people, it’s all they can do to put a frozen dinner into the microwave, which is usually packed with additives and has little in the way of real nutrition. Some people make the effort at the weekend, where the whole family enjoys fresh food such as vegetables and salads. However, as soon as the weekend is over, so is the healthy diet. Unfortunately, in order to enjoy good health it is important to maintain a healthy diet, which means healthy meals and snacks for the whole family. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the odd pizza or burger – just not every day of the week!
When you are thinking of ideas for healthy meals you have to take into account who and how many you are cooking for. For example, cooking for just yourself or yourself and a partner is pretty easy. You can take it in turns to do the cooking or even cook together, and you can enjoy a range of healthy meals, from pasta or salads to rice and vegetables. Steamed fish, skinless chicken, low fat vegetarian soya, and a range of other healthy eating products will prove perfect, and with the wide choice available you can enjoy something different for dinner every evening.
Cooking for a family can be more difficult. Firstly cooking together can be a nightmare when there are kids to look after. And secondly, you have to take into account that you are cooking for a number of people all of whom may have different tastes. You can’t simply send the ‘awkward vegetarian’ or another family member with selective tastes to the burger bar whilst you all tuck in to a healthy meal – you have to ensure that the meal you cook caters for all members of the family.
Thankfully, there are a great many healthy meals that you can opt for. Of course, fresh vegetables and salads will make up a big part of any healthy eating diet, as will the protein and vitamins from some meats (such as chicken or turkey) and certain fish. It is also important to keep the diet varied – having the same healthy meal every evening can get very boring, and soon starts to become unhealthy as you are limiting the type of vitamins and nutrients that you get.
When you are cooking healthy meals from fresh, you want to keep the fat content and calories low and the vitamins and minerals high. You can do this by using lower fat ingredients to cook (such as half fat butter, low fat milk, sugar substitute etc.) and also by reviewing your cooking methods. The healthiest of foods can soon become akin to burgers if deep fried and served up with lashings of grease! In order to keep in the vitamins and minerals, as well as cut down on fat, you should boil, steam, or grill your foods. You can also roast, but try using low fat spray oils rather than standard cooking oil.
Grocery stores are also taking healthy eating seriously these days, and you can get a vast range of ingredients to cook your own healthy meals. You can also enjoy healthier ready meals that can be microwave cooked or oven cooked, so even if you are rushed you can get some healthy food inside you rather than opting for the drive thru on your way out!
A typical healthy menu that can suit both adults and kids could be something like this:
Scrambled egg on wholemeal toast, orange juice Or Cereal with low fat milk, orange juice
Two pieces of fruit
Two rashers of turkey or chicken/two rashers of vegetarian chicken, and a fresh garden salad with low fat dressing
1 pot of fruit yoghurt (low fat)
Some chopped, raw vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, cucumber etc)
Boiled new potatoes, with steamed vegetables and grilled or baked fish
Of course, you can find many variations for healthy meals, but providing you include plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and some healthy carbohydrates (in moderation) such as potatoes and pasta, you should find that you can cater for everyone, from the fussiest child to the vegetarian in the family.
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