Healthy Food, Easy Meals and Power Snacks to Go

Fruits and Veggies Galore



Healthy Food for a Healthy Life

Photo by The Fit Indian

According to a food-related article in Men's Fitness, the healthiness of food people consume decreases by 1.7 percent for every hour that passes in a day, making breakfast the healthiest meal of the day, and other food decisions suffer after that. The thought of eating an apple as a snack may sound appealing in the late morning, but by 3pm that apple has become a bag of chips or a couple of Oreos.

It is no doubt that parents want their children to eat healthy, but according to State of the Plate's 2015 study of America's consumption of fruits and vegetables, consumption of these legs of the food pyramid has decreased six to seven percent since 2009. Oddly enough, children have been eating their fruits and veggies; it is, however, the parents who may have not been listening to their own advice.

With that same data, the top 10 consumed fruits and fruit products are bananas, apples, berries, oranges, melons, grapes, applesauce, peaches, pineapples, and pears. The top 10 consumed vegetables and vegetable products are potatoes, lettuce/vegetable salads, onions, tomatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, pasta sauce, peppers, legumes/shelled beans, broccoli, and mixed vegetables. But sometimes it's just easier to go through the drive-thru than to cook a homemade meal. Accessibility aside, fast food is relatively unhealthy. So a few extra minutes spent in the kitchen can be worth it. 

Breakfast

When it comes to breakfast, people want easy to prepare, tasty meals that are filling and require little planning.

If you're a cereal person, for a healthier twist, don't serve yourself so much cereal but add in some fruit and nuts like bananas, berries, or almonds to spice it up. These additional toppings add additional nutrients. Fruit adds healthy, natural sugar to your morning wake up call. Nuts and seeds add healthy fats and energy to gear you up for whatever your day has in store. If you're looking for less calories, try low-fat skim milk or unsweetened coconut or almond milk.

Eggs can be prepared any way you like them, but for an easy way to get some vegetables in your day right off the bat, try adding veggies to an omelet or scrambled eggs. Diced red and green peppers, tomatoes, onion, celery, broccoli, or spinach are great healthy omelet options. Mixing vegetables in your eggs is a great way to start off your day, filling your body with rich nutrients that you wouldn't otherwise get from eggs, cereal, or toast alone.

Weekend mornings, if you have more time for breakfast and are feeling in the mood for pancakes, this is for you. Pancakes can actually be healthy if you trade out a few ingredients. Instead of using flour, try grinding oats to create oat flour; instead of using sugar, use stevia or honey; instead of using eggs or oil, use a banana. Make a double batch on your day off and freeze the leftovers for a quick, easy to toast or microwave breakfast throughout the week. 

Smoothies can be very healthy too, with the right ingredients. Use fresh or frozen fruit of your choosing, a couple handfuls of spinach, flax or chia seeds, Greek yogurt, and unsweetened almond or coconut milk. Ratios can differ, so experiment and find out what you like.

Lunch

Lunch should be easy to prepare, quick to make and clean up, affordable, and eaten on the run.

A salad can be more filling than you think. Start with romaine lettuce (or spinach, if you prefer), and add berries, nuts, seeds, and quinoa. For a healthier option, skip the croutons and the dressing. The nuts and seeds will add crunch to the salad, and the juice of the berries will cover the lettuce or spinach. If the salad looks dry to you, squeeze some lemon juice to taste. This will add depth, taste, and variety to your salad.

Any sandwich can be made healthier. Skip the butter or mayo and add mustard or avocado as a spread, add your low-fat chicken, ham, or turkey (remember, a little goes a long way), add in some color and flavor with a slice of tomato, onion, and spinach. Pair with carrot sticks, apple slices, a banana, or healthy trail mix to fuel your day with healthy energy. Cup of coffee after lunch? No thanks, you had energizing foods for lunch!

Snacks

Snacks are necessary throughout a busy day. It's healthier to eat four to five small meals a day than two or three big meals, so snack away. Try power granola or power balls for energy on the go.

Need more reasons to snack on fruits and vegetables? There are many different colors and textures that add variety and taste to your day. They are convenient and easy to prepare in any form (raw or cooked). Fruits and veggies add fiber, vitamins, and minerals to keep you healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, some cancers and other things.

Dinner

Dinner should be like lunch: something that brings the whole family together.

Get some cod, salmon, tilapia, or other fish and fry it in olive or grape seed oil. Saute some complementary vegetables, and serve with a fruit salad as a side dish. Or prepare shrimp alfredo with zucchini noodles for a healthy substitution.

Crockpot dinners are a nice go-to when you want something complex but have no time to sit around and cook. Crockpot dinners include everything from lasagna, chicken dishes, beef dishes, soups, and much more. These dinners require little preparation: simply place ingredients in the crockpot, set required heat, and go about your normal day. Come dinner time, it's ready to be served!