It’s been a long day, and you’ve got 30 minutes to prepare dinner for the family. What can you cook that’s fast, healthy, and maybe has the side-benefit of being good for your teeth at the same time? Healthy meals are just as much about how you prepare your food as what types of ingredients you decide to use. So, we’ve got a few suggestions for you … and one that involves no cooking whatsoever!
What to cook?
Ah, the million-dollar question. The better question really, though, is “how” should you cook it? These days, it’s somewhat fair to say we understand what we should be eating. Less meat, more vegetables, moderate levels of healthy fat, and little to no added sugar. It’s what your Mom told you when you were a kid, and it’s still true today. Moderation is key, right? But learning how to prepare all those ingredients in a healthful manner isn’t always clear to us. Pan frying is the quickest, and it can be healthy, when using minimal amounts (or, no) oil. But how often to you steam, bake, boil, poach or go completely raw? If we were the betting kind, we’d bad hardly ever, save for perhaps baking. If you’re looking for a quick way to prepare dinner that’s good for your body and your teeth there’s no better way than to mix up your cooking methods a bit. Because you know what’s really good for your teeth? Water. And, all of the above methods retain water, some even add to it. Let’s dig a bit more.
Steaming: Would you like dinner in less than 10 minutes instead of 30? Get ready to fall in love with the steamer. Fish and broccoli can be ready in about 6 minutes in most steamers. Have you switched to prepared bag rice because you always burn it on the stove? Join the millions of rice lovers around the world who use a steamer for their main meal staple. Steamed chicken? Yep. Super-quick. Dumplings? You bet. Tantalize your taste buds with these recipes from the Food Network for ideas!
Baking seems to be an invitation to carb-binge, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A three dollar investment in tin foil and a rimmed baking dish puts you in the game for all sorts of savory baking that’ll keep you on the healthy track each day of the year. Bake all sorts of dishes oil free by learning how to cook with spices and citrus, and by wrapping foil around the ingredients you’ve tossed in the oven. Boy scouts and girl scouts learn in camp the marvels a tin foil wrap can deliver after resting in the campfire for awhile … your oven can perform the same sort of magic without having to worry about disappointing Smokey the Bear. Bake-away!
Brown broccoli. Who wants it?! Not you, right? Yes, your parents may have butchered broccoli, but following in their footsteps is not a requirement for all things in life. If you’ve traditionally shunned boiling and poaching because you feel it kills all the good stuff in food, and makes things taste like, well, nothing – or, worse, now is the time to learn how to use water over the stove so that doesn’t happen. Chicken can be marvelous when poached, and is a great go-to item for meals-in-a-rush, as is Salmon and other types of fish. Spiced Lentils and poached eggs, anyone? Sounds great, right? Now, here’s how to properly manage that cauldron of water for best results!