Friday, March 26, 2010

Easy, Healthy Meals For One or More

As requested by my college running buddy, today I am going to talk about creating an easy, healthy meal. These are meals that can easily be made for one person, or can suit a family.

First, some tips:
1. Stock your cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer with commonly used ingredients so that you aren’t met with the hassle of running to the store at the last minute.
2. Try to stock up on items when they are on sale and certainly when you can also attach a coupon to that.
3. Planning meals is sometimes a pain, but is instrumental in helping you to actually have a dinner on the table. This can be done once per week and really doesn’t take that long. If you have a family, try having everyone pick one or two meals for the week.
4. Purchase a cookbook that features easy and healthy meals to reduce boredom of eating the same foods over and over. Here are some that I like:
a. Simple Suppers by Cooking Light
b. Easy Dinners Healthy Recipes by Better Homes and Gardens
c. The One-Armed Cook by Cynthia Stevens Graubart and Catherine Fliegel, R.N., C.C.E.
d. Food Made Fast Weeknight by William Sonoma (Some recipes may need modification to make them healthier.)

Some meal ideas:
(Ingredients needed are bolded, click on links for coupons!)

1. Throw a chicken breast(s) in a bag with a marinade that you picked up at the store before leaving for work or the night before. When dinner time arrives, put the chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook instant, whole-grain rice and throw some steamfresh vegetables in the microwave. Spray your rice once or twice with a butter spray and add some garlic powder.

2. Star cooking instant, yellow rice. Meanwhile, put a 14.5oz can of black beans in another sauce pan with only 1 T of its sauce. Add a few sprinkles of dried cilantro, a dash of red pepper seasoning, and 1 T of lime juice. When the beans are heated and the rice is ready, top your rice with the beans and enjoy.

3. Sprinkle Cajun seasoning on chicken breasts and then grill or bake them. Add your chicken to a whole grain bun with lettuce, tomato, and mustard. This is very tasty with a salad or frozen vegetables.

4. Heat 1 T of olive oil in a pan. Add tilapia and then sprinkle with a little bit of lemon pepper seasoning. Squirt some lemon juice on your tilapia and then flip them halfway through cooking. While your tilapia is on the stove, add some Smart Balance to some whole grain bread, sprinkle a little bit of garlic salt, and stick it in the oven at 400 degrees until it is toasted. You could also do this in a toaster. Enjoy frozen vegetables with this!

5. Purchase low sodium Asian sauce (William Sonoma has a great one, but I’m sure there are plenty of much cheaper varieties at the grocery store!) and drizzle over salmon. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Boil or steam baby carrots and sprinkle cinnamon on them. Add a piece of whole wheat bread and you have yourself a meal!

Thanks to Jenny, from Southern Savers, for some of these coupons!

I would love to hear any of your favorite fast meals! Please post your favorite in the comment section!


  1. Southern Living's "Easy Weeknight Favorites" and "Best Brand Recipes" are also some of our favorite cookbooks.

  2. These are wonderful tips for creating a meal in a snap after a busy day. With these tips and a little imagination, we should be able to come up with all kinds of variations. To add to the list of great cookbooks: Southern Living's "Light and Easy Comfort Food" Cooking Light's "Fresh Food Fast" These are 5 ingredient, 15 min recipes. Weight Watchers cookbooks are amazing as well. One trick that I use is to cut chicken breasts in half thickness-wise. This gives you a more appropriate portion size and really helps stretch your food dollars.

  3. Marinade chicken in coconut milk (for a few minutes). Then dip the chicken pieces in a mixture of crushed corn flakes (or ritz crackers), crushed nuts, and curry. Then bake the chicken in the oven. Serve with green vegetable. Delicious!

  4. These are great! I agree with BusyDadE, Southern Living Easy Weeknight Favs is one of my most-used cookbooks!
    I like to make burritos with leftover rice.

    1-2 c. cooked rice
    1 can black beans
    1/2 - 1 c. salsa
    4 Tbs. taco seasoning
    Monterray Jack Cheese
    Sun Dried tomato wraps

    Heat and mix first 4 ingredients. place evenly in wraps, top with cheese, wrap them up, cook @ 425 covered for 15 mins. Easy and delicious! My husband says they are way better than Moe's.