In many households, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. can feel like the busiest, most hectic part of the day. You arrive home after what can be a stressful commute from work; the kids have homework and need to get ready for bed; the house is a mess; you’re tired from pulling an eight-hour shift (or more)… How do you fit in making the time to cook a healthy, family-friendly meal without driving yourself crazy?
Firstly, don’t be quick to come home with fast food just to save yourself some sanity. A recent study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that home cooking is a main ingredient in a healthier diet.
“When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all — even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and lead author of the study.
The findings also suggest that those who frequently cooked at home — six-to-seven nights a week — also consumed fewer calories on the occasions when they ate out.
Making dinner happen after work on a consistent basis can feel like a challenge. Even just figuring out what to cook can be hard, let along doing it quickly and with results the whole family will enjoy. But believe it or not, a healthy dinner is achievable… and you can even do it in less than 30 minutes with simple, fresh ingredients.
Start off by committing to ONE WEEK of home-cooked meals. To get you started off right, we’ve compiled a list of 7 recipes for healthy dinners you can make in 30 minutes or less. Give it a try and share your favorite recipe with us on Facebook!
TIP FOR DIETERS: When it comes to cooking while on a diet, portion control is everything! Download Robard’s Portion Platter to learn how to properly portion your meals. Weight management clinics offer programs with helpful resources and food education like our portion platter… to learn more about joining a weight management program, visit Robard’s Find a Clinic page.
TIP FOR PROVIDERS: Cooking healthy meals is a vital part of maintenance for any dieter. Robard’s programs offer tailored resources like meal plans to help your dieters keep the weight off. For more information on Robard’s programs, fill out Robard’s Become a Provider form.
Sources: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Food Network, Better Homes and Gardens
Blog written by By Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
Preparing a healthy dinner every night is a chore for many, especially after a long day at work. But the truth is that putting together a nutritious meal can be easy and quick with a little creativity. Salads topped with grilled chicken are great, but when you feel the need to change things up, give these suggestions a try. They are sure to add an extra helping of excitement to your next weeknight meal!
1. Use Condiments Creatively!
Dry herbs, spices and condiments can transform the most “standard” ingredients into flavor-packed dishes. With spices, you get great flavor as well as the added benefit of antioxidants that can help protect against certain diseases! Here are some winning combinations:
● Season your protein with a mix of 1 tbs. each garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and salt w/1 tsp. each of black pepper, celery salt and dried oregano.
● Make a zesty marinade for chicken or fish using Dijon mustard, crushed garlic and chopped capers. Garnish the prepared dish with minced parsley. Another great combination of herbs and spices is a marinade made of lime juice, cumin powder, chili powder and chopped cilantro.
● Did you know that salsa makes a great salad dressing? Use 2-3 tbs of fresh salsa on of a bed of greens topped with red onions, grape tomatoes, green peppers, ½ cup of black beans and 1-2 tablespoons of cheddar cheese. Fresh salsa can be found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
2. Play with Your Food!
Have a little fun and change up the way you serve food. Lettuce wraps are a great “vehicle” for stir-fried chicken or shrimp with veggies such as carrots, cabbage and broccoli. Skewers are another kitchen essential for creative food presentation. Alternate vegetables such as bell peppers and zucchini with cubes of chicken or firm fish such as tuna or salmon on wooden skewers and grill outside or on a cast iron grill pan. Serve with a yogurt based dipping sauce such as Tzatziki. This is a dish kids will love too!
3.Have Breakfast for Dinner!
●Think eggs are can only be scrambled or served sunny-side up? Think again. The incredible egg is actually one of the most versatile and healthy foods on the planet. Add nutrition to its natural protein content by throwing in fiber-packed artichokes and black beans to make a frittata that is a complete meal. To cut back on fat content, use 1 whole egg with 4 egg whites.
●Eggs in Purgatory are another great dish that’s quick, healthy and delicious. Put your own twist on it by adding your favorite vegetables and seasonings. I enjoy a combination of mushrooms, chopped olives, dried oregano and a tablespoon of low fat feta cheese. Serve with a side salad for a light weeknight dinner.
●You can also take pancakes “out-of-the-box” by turning them savory. Use any high fiber pancake mix and add healthy ingredients such as fresh corn kernels and chopped spinach. Other delicious combinations include Asian-inspired pancakes using cubed tofu and scallions as well as an Italian style version with roasted red peppers, part-skim mozzarella and chopped basil. Enjoy!
Guest Blog was written by Dafna Chazin (pictured, right), who is a registered dietitian
with Virtua’s The Center for Nutrition and Weight Management. She
currently provides nutrition services at Virtua’s Medically-Supervised
Weight Loss clinic, which offers a comprehensive approach to weight
loss. In addition, she consults individuals pursuing bariatric surgery
and teaches numerous education classes on a variety on nutrition-related
topics. Dafna is passionate about wellness promotion, healthy cooking,
weight management and maternal and child nutrition. She holds a Master
of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and has
been an active member of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since
As the old saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Oh, but if only healthy eating could be as simple as that! According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2012 Food & Health Survey, most Americans (52 percent) have concluded that figuring out their income taxes is easier than knowing what they should and shouldn’t eat to be healthier. However, despite how confusing healthy eating can seem, one thing is for sure: if you don’t have healthy options available in your kitchen, you’re not likely to eat healthy. So a good place to start if you are looking to eat healthier is… your grocery list.
With the grab and go lifestyle of convenience that many of us are used to living, it often feels so much easier on the brain and on the budget to load up on unhealthy pre-packaged or ready-made foods. (Pop-Tarts are kind of like fruit, right?) But also consider that while unhealthy packaged goods may be easy and cost less in the short term, being overweight or obese can cost you much more in the long-term, with obese individuals having medical costs that are on average $1,429 more than those of normal weight (roughly 42 percent higher).
However, getting on a path to a healthier diet doesn’t always have to be as complicated as it seems, and adding just a few healthier items to your grocery list can create opportunities to drastically change up your diet for the better. Plus, sometimes our convenience-oriented society can work to our advantage. One you have some healthier items stocked up in your kitchen, check out websites like Supercook, which will generate wholesome recipes for any meal based on what you currently have in your kitchen. Pretty easy, right?
To begin getting your healthy shopping list on track, check out our list below of 10 healthy and versatile foods you should add to your grocery list this week that will allow you to put together a number of healthy and satisfying meals, but won’t add too much stress, time, or inconvenience. What other healthy foods are must-haves for your list? Share with us on Facebook!
Sources: Healthy Eating Guide, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, Institute of Food Technologists
Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation
Much of what we see on TV is for entertainment and shouldn't be seen
as things we act out in real life. Who would have thought that one of
those things is cooking? Food television networks often produce
exquisite dishes prepared by professionals and amateurs, but when we
bring these dishes out of the television and into our kitchen it can add
to your waistline.
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