Put a nutritious meal on the table in less time than you’d spend getting take-out
After a long day at work or taking care of the kids, cooking a three-course gourmet, healthy meal is probably the last thing you want to do. Still, you may be feeling a little guilty about being on a first-name basis with the pizza guy, too. What’s a mom to do?
Serve these main dishes with couscous, instant brown rice, raw veggie sticks or bagged salad, with fresh fruit for dessert to complete your meal. All recipes serve four people.
Easy Vegetable Frittata
8 whole eggs or 4 cups liquid egg substitute
1 cup each chopped onions, peppers, and mushrooms
Beat the egg mixture until light and frothy. Set stove to medium heat. Spray a nonstick pan with oil spray and place it on the burner. Add the egg mixture and swirl in the pan. Allow eggs to set until cooked around the edges. Scatter the vegetables over the top of the egg mixture, and cook until eggs are set. Using a spatula, fold the frittata in half, and gently slide onto a plate.
Why it’s healthy: The eggs-and-veggies combo is packed with vital nutrients and high-quality, easily digestible protein.
4 small whole-wheat tortillas
2 cups canned fat-free refried beans
2 cups shredded 2% cheddar cheese
1 cup mild or medium salsa (fresh or jarred)
Spread tortilla with refried beans and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Microwave on high for 30 seconds until cheese is melted. Remove to plate, top with salsa and roll up.
Why it’s healthy: It’s high in protein and rich in fiber.
16 large romaine lettuce leaves
1 pound cooked sliced white meat chicken (deli, roasted prepackaged, or leftover rotisserie breast meat)
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
2 cups celery
Salad dressing spray or low-fat dressing
Spread out each lettuce leaf and cover with chicken and vegetables. Spray with dressing or use a teaspoon of dressing, distributing over the whole surface. Roll tightly, starting from the large leafy end.
Why it’s healthy: It’s protein rich and offers a generous vegetable serving.
12 cups mixed greens
3 cups low-fat chili (purchased or homemade, lean-beef or bean)
2 cups shredded 2% cheese
40 baked tortilla chips (optional)
Place greens on a large plate. Top with the chili of your choice. Make sure it is hot so the cheese melts when you sprinkle it on top. Serve with baked tortilla chips. (If you want to go chip-free, you’ll have an additional 100 calories to spend on an extra snack.)
Why it’s healthy: It provides a heaping serving of nutrient-rich greens.
4 3-ounce cans chunk light tuna packed in water
4 ounces 2% shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped onions, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes
12 cups raw spinach (washed and dried)
¾ cup fat-free Italian dressing
4 light whole-grain flat bread wraps (90 to 100 calories each)
Place the raw spinach in a bowl. Drain the tuna and flake it with a fork while adding to the spinach. Add chopped vegetables and shredded cheese. Mix with dressing. Spread the mixture on the wrap and roll it up.
Why it’s healthy: It contains whole grains, lean protein and vegetables.
Deluxe Veggie Burger
4 flame-grilled Boca (or other soy brand) burgers
4 slices 2% cheddar cheese or soy cheese
4 leafs of romaine lettuce
Sliced tomato and onion
8 teaspoons prepared honey mustard
4 “light” whole-wheat sandwich buns
Cook burgers according to directions, in microwave or pan. Add cheese and microwave for 15 seconds until melted. Place burger on bun and spread with honey mustard, adding tomato, onion, and lettuce before topping with remaining half of bun.
Why it’s healthy: A heart-healthy vegetable protein, plus added fiber from the bun.
Quick and Easy Stir-Fry
1 pound fresh chicken tenders
2 pounds of frozen vegetables (your choice: broccoli-cauliflower mix or a stir-fry blend go well here)
2 cans sliced water chestnuts
1 cup prepared stir-fry cooking sauce, any variety (reduced sodium, if available)
2 cups shredded fresh Chinese (Napa) cabbage (optional)
Cut chicken tenders into 10 inch pieces. Microwave frozen vegetables for half the time listed on the package. In a large nonstick skillet coated with vegetable spray, sauté chicken for 2 minutes, or until white and opaque; remove and set aside. Place partly cooked vegetables in the pan, add stir-fry sauce, and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and water chestnuts, combine thoroughly, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Top with shredded Chinese cabbage, if desired, before serving.
Why it’s healthy: It’s a perfect balance of protein and vegetables.
Savory Shrimp Scampi
20 large raw shrimp
4 tablespoons olive oil (dark green, first press)
Chopped fresh garlic (clove or jarred in water)
1 cup of fresh lemon
In a small nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high until barely smoking. Add a fresh chopped garlic clove and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the raw shrimp and cook for 3 minutes, or until the shrimp have turned completely pink. Squirt a wedge of lemon across the shrimp and into the pan. Spoon shrimp and pan juices onto serving plate.
Why it’s healthy: It’s a low-calorie meal with high-quality protein.
Quick Chicken Blt Wraps
4 light whole-wheat wraps
1 pound cooked, diced white meat chicken (deli, leftover rotisserie chicken or roasted prepackaged)
20 grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
4 tablespoons Bac-os (soy) or real bacon bits
2 cups shredded lettuce
4 teaspoons light mayonnaise
On each wrap, spread one teaspoon of mayonnaise. Add the diced chicken, then top with tomatoes, bacon bits and lettuce. Tuck in the sides, and roll tightly.
Why it’s healthy: It’s fiber-rich and has lots of veggies.
Chicken Caesar Salad
16 cups romaine lettuce (washed and dried)
4 skinless, cooked chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup large-cut prepared croutons
¾ cup of fat-free Caesar dressing
Tear romaine into bite-sized pieces. Cut the chicken into pieces and add to the romaine. Add the Parmesan cheese and croutons, and toss with dressing.
Why it’s healthy: It’s a lean protein and a serving of vegetables.