Fast Healthy Meals!

Fast HEALTHY Meals

Spend less time in the kitchen without having to sacrifice good nutrition...

...sound too good to be true?

It's not!

The secret to fast healthy meals is to shop smart and have the right ingredients on hand.

Here are some ingredients your kitchen should never be without. They'll simplify your time in the kitchen so you can get in and out in a flash...


I hate those recipes that call for an arm's long list of spices.

I wind up buying 10 different bottles of spices and using a teaspoon of each. Then they crowd my kitchen until one day when I decide to move, when they finally get thrown away. A fast healthy meal should be easier!

It can be. Seasoning mixes save time (and money and space). With just one ingredient, you add multiple flavors. And mixes take the guesswork out of seasoning because the ingredients are already perfectly proportioned! Stock up with the following:

  • Italian seasoning: a mix of basil, oregano, and marjoram. Use on chicken or fish, in salad, pasta, rice or chili.
  • Cajun seasoning: look for a low sodium or salt free version. Spice up otherwise ordinary grilled chicken, fish or steamed vegetables.
  • Lemon pepper: Believe it or not, this has salt! Look for a low sodium or salt free version. Use on poultry, fish, veggies, salads, potatoes, pasta and rice.
  • Chili powder: ground chili peppers, cumin, garlic (and sometimes salt...so look for one without). An essential for 2 of my favorite fast healthy meals with a mexican flair...burritos and quesadillas.
  • Apple pie spice: add to baked apples or pears, yogurt, applesauce, or hot milk.
  • Pumpkin pie spice: sprinkle on sweet potatoes, winter squash, hot milk, or scrambled eggs!

Cooking is an art, not a science. If you like eggs and you like pumpkin pie spice, I bet you'll like the two together. Don't be afraid to let your imagaination run free!

Fast Healthy Meals: Freezer Helpers

  • Frozen chopped onions and bell peppers eliminate chopping time.
  • Frozen veggie burger, turkey burgers, salmon burgers and tuna burgers are already cooked...just heat and eat!
  • Lowfat french fries or (preferably) sweet potato fries (no hydrogenated oil in my favorite brand, Alexia) are the start to a fast, healthy kid friendly meal: Top with canned lowfat chili and shredded lowfat cheese for "chili fries."
  • Frozen vegetable mixes make stir fries a snap. Yes...it's ok to use frozen vegetables!! You have this nutrition professional's approval. Contrary to popular belief, frozen vegetables are not nutrition-less.

Frozen vegetables are selected at the peak of ripeness and then put into a bag for freezing.

On the other hand, fresh vegetables are picked, then transported to your grocer, then displayed until you happen to walk buy and purchase, and then they sit in your refrigerator until you finally decide to eat them.

That's why the frozen ones can actually be fresher!

Cook up extra frozen vegetables for use the following day. And don't forget to doctor those veggies up with the seasoning mixes you always have on hand!

Prepared Produce Makes Fast Healthy Meals a Breeze

Stir fry mixes: fresh veggies cut and ready to go into a stir fry, salad, or just plain snacking.

Bagged salad: Don't worry, bagged salad is better than no salad! Nothing wrong with getting a head start by using prewashed salad mixes. Stick with the lettuce blends and add your own extra virgin olive oil and vinegar.

Salad bar: If your grocery store has a salad bar, capitalize on the fact that someone else has already done the chopping work for you! Besides lettuce, note all the great precut veggies a salad bar can offer you...

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • sliced cucumber
  • shredded carrots
  • kidney beans
  • garbanzo beans
  • chopped beets
  • sliced onions
  • hard boiled eggs/hard boiled egg whites

Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, snap peas: No chopping necessary! Just rinse and add to bagged salad, use as a garnish for simple meals, or eat right out of the bag.

Precut mixed fruit: It's always better when someone else does the chopping, right?

Pre-roasted minced garlic and jarred roasted red bell peppers: a little goes a long way!

Canned Goods

Low sodium canned foods can make cooking a fast healthy meal, well... fast!

Healthy Soups: choose one with less than 3 grams of fat and no more than 500mg sodium per serving. Make canned soup even more nutritious by adding some of those frozen veggies you have stocked away in the freezer!

Beans: Rinse and drain to reduce the salt content. Use in quick burritos, tacos, quesadillas, salads, or even mash with salsa and eat on whole wheat toast for breakfast.

Canned Chili: Vegetarian varieties (Amy's and Healthy Valley brands are my favorites) or lowfat turkey chili turns an ordinary burger into a "chili burger," an ordinary potato into a "chili potato," or an ordinary salad into a "taco salad."

Flavored tomatoes: Mexican, Italian, or Spicy canned tomatoes have the benefit of being seasoned with onion, garlic, seasonings, etc. It's like using 4-5 ingredients with the effort of using only one! Just watch the sodium content.

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