When we prepare dinner, many times we opt for processed foods and premade entrees, heavily laden in salt and fats, because of time or budget constraints. Premade meals certainly do offer high convenience, which makes them very attractive, but most lack in real nutritional value. The good news is, preparing a healthy meal does not have to involve a huge investment of effort, time or money. Even high calorie comfort food favorites can be given a healthy dinner makeover and be ready to grace your table in minutes.
Simple Ways to Transform Your Favorite Meals
It is possible to reduce the calories and boost the nutrition in many of your favorite quick dinners with very little effort. By making a few changes, you can transform many meals into low calorie dinner delights.
When preparing your next meal, consider these swaps:
- For meals that use ground beef, substitute ground turkey or chicken for part or all of the meat.
- Use low fat cheeses.
- Use canola or olive oil in place of solid fats or vegetable oil blends.
- Use plain 0% (non-fat) Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream
- Use fat-free evaporated milk instead of heavy cream in sauces or soups
- Many fruits and vegetables can be pureed and used as fat substitutes for up to half the fat in recipes. Applesauce, prunes, canned pumpkin puree, and zucchini are all nutritionally packed options.
- Saute vegetables in fat-free chicken broth instead of oil or butter
- Use 2 egg whites for every 1 whole egg in recipes to reduce cholesterol.
- Choose whole grains when possible. Whole wheat tortillas, breads, brown rice and pastas can all add nutritional value while helping reduce the calories of many meals.
For healthy dinners, the change can be as simple as adding flavorful ingredients in surprising places. Simple tricks like adding blended vegetables to sauces will pack in vitamins while being hardly detectable to most finicky eaters.
Make it Taste Indulgent
Another useful tip in creating a healthy dinner is making it taste as indulgent as high fat, high calorie meals. Keeping it flavorful tricks our mind and trips the senses into feeling as if it has a rich meal. According to WebMD Weight Loss Clinic experts, there are a few helpful tips in creating low fat recipes that taste great.
- Instead of deep frying, try pan frying or oven baking lightly breaded meats.
- Use fresh herbs to satisfy taste buds.
- Roast or brown ingredients such as nuts and garlic to bring out flavors.
- Use egg substitute for half of the eggs in omelets or other meals that use many eggs.
Great Low Calorie Meal Resources
Low calorie meals can be fun, fast and flavorful. There are many great cook books available featuring great low calorie dinner choices which are well worth purchasing. many cooking websites such as Food Network also have extensive collections of low calorie dinner recipes as well as sides and desserts that can rival any of the high fat meals.
Rethink Healthy Dinner Options
Some of the quickest meal options can be the healthiest if you choose wisely. When making your choices, reevaluate what you consider a meal. Rather than making a snap decision and pulling the processed foods from the pantry or making a quick trip to the drive through, consider the options. Many choices are just as fast and can not only save calories, but also hard earned money.