Easy Healthy Meals – 3 Simple Tips For Quick Healthy Meals

We all lead busy lives and the importance of eating healthy can often be overlooked. Preparing easy healthy meals can sometimes take a backseat.
If you have a family like me, you probably have to work a job (perhaps both parents) do the shopping, run errands, pick up the kids from daycare and run a household. All at the same time. Aarggg!

Having a few ideas for easy healthy meals up your sleeve can certainly take “a load off”.

One of the biggest problems people face when it comes to meal ideas and meal preparation is not having a basic plan. What do I mean by a basic plan?

Simple… You need to have a few things on hand. By that I mean; frozen meat like chicken breasts, steak, diced meat, ground or minced meat, fish.
Having these types of things in the freezer ready to go makes preparing easy healthy meals exactly that… Easy.

Keep things like fresh salad items in the cooler if it’s summer and potatoes, carrots, root vegetables and legumes on hand during winter. That way you can whip up a soup in next to no time.

Here’s Tip No1: If winter is on the way then perhaps it may be a good idea to invest in a slow cooker if you haven’t already. They’re fantastic kitchen appliances and are great for those hearty winter soups and heart healthy cooking. It’s so easy make up a large amount of soup and freeze it in single or double portions ready for defrosting and reheating. Homemade soups are always easy healthy meals and are often best prepared well ahead of time.

Tip No2: Cook meals well ahead of time. You can roast or poach a chicken for summer salads and have the meat in the fridge for a few days. All you do now is toss a little chicken through some lovely crisp leaves, a few juicy italian Roma tomatoes, a little homemade ricotta cheese with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Man oh Man… I making myself hungry!

Tip No3: Everyone loves Pizza. Especially a healthy pizza recipe. I like to make my own pizza mainly because I know how healthy it will be. Can’t be bothered making your own homemade pizza dough? No problem. I like to use flat bread also known as Lebanese bread as the base. Wholemeal of course. Spread a little tomato paste and mixed herbs on the bread, layer on your own toppings like cheese, tomato, ham, cooked chicken, capsicum (bell peppers), olives and anything else you like. You can create your very own healthy pizza recipe.

It’s easy to come up with plenty of good ideas for easy healthy meals is you have a few things on hand. Having a few ideas for easy healthy meals up your sleeve can certainly take “a load off”.

Healthy Meal Plans to Lose Weight

2010 is all done, and 2011 is rolling in.. this means new years resolutions. One of the most popular new years resolutions are to get in shape, or perhaps shed a few pounds. Many people think that if they get a gym membership, and go a couple times a week this will be all they need to achieve their goals of getting in shape or losing some weight. WRONG. Weight loss is a journey…. and for some, it can be a very long journey at that. Gaining back your health includes an abundance of change. One of the largest contributing factors to weight loss is your diet plan. Today I will give you a few tips to get healthy and shed a few extra pounds with healthy meal plans to lose weight. No gym required.

The reason you have gained the weight in the first place has been your diet. Many people disregard breakfast. This meal is the most important meal of day because it starts up your metabolism. This is something that you really need to understand. You metabolism WILL slow down if you are only eat 2 LARGE meals a day, it will slow down if you are eating 2 small meals a day, and it will slow down if you are not putting the right fuel into your system.

To start off, cut out the simple sugars. These include white bread, sugar in your coffee, pastries, plain bagels, white pasta, cookies and most fast food.

Then, recognize the importance of water. Its huge. It gets your digestive system moving, and it helps rid of any toxins that are slowing you down.. literally.

Start eating a healthy breakfast. This should/can include, a bowl of cereal (Fibre One, Vector, Cheerios, nature valley) you should use low-fat milk, and for some extra nutrients add fresh berries, apples, or bananas.

You can also refer to the other breakfast healthy meal plans idea that I have previously posted.

Then.. about 3 hours later have a snack. This snack should include a fruit accompanied with a protein or a fat. So, lets say an apple with 10-15 almonds, or a low fat cheese.

So, if you work a job that is from 9-5, we are probably at about 2:30 or three o’clock. Now its lunch time. This should include a protein, a complex carbohydrate and some vegetables. This can be a piece of chicken breast, accompanied with a small sweet potato and a fresh salad. Avoid processed dressing. Try Balsamic vinegar and olive oil to put on your salad, and if you need to spice up your chicken try some Mrs. Dash sodium (salt) free spices.

Now, its about 5:30 you are hitting the road and your on the way home. Dinner time is creeping up, but if you’re sitting in traffic and you can feel your tummy growling. For times like these make sure you have something in your bag. This is when most people fail. Many people swing through the McDonalds drive through to get a burger to hold them until they get home. Terrible idea, AND it waste of money and chances are you will feel guilty afterward if you’re trying to get in shape! So.. always have a little granola bar in your bag. Not a granola bar that is loaded with sugar like a S’mores bar. But try something like Kashi or Nature valley. These can even be thrown into your dash board for desperate times.

Now you are home, and the family is getting hungry. You’re dinner, much like your lunch should consist of a protein, a complex carbohydrate and vegetables. This can include extra lean ground beef spaghetti sauce, whole wheat noodles, and a fresh spinach salad with any vegetables. Again, light on the dressing.

If your family enjoys stir fry. Sautee some frozen or fresh vegetables with some diced up chicken breast, and put it on a bed or brown, or wild rice.

Many of us deal with unsupportive families who are not willing to eat such foods, but this is about YOU.. not the entire family. IF they are not willing to be supportive and help make the changes, recognize what you are going after… YOUR HEALTH. Continue your healthy eating, and consider the fact that you recently had a granola bar, you can hold off for a few extra minutes to make your own plate.

Remember… drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. Drink with every meal. Its hard to get used to, but after a few days, your body and mind will thank you.

Key point here, DO NOT starve yourself. It will only come back to bite you. Eat frequently. When you are hungry.. EAT.. just make sure its healthy, clean food. With all of this information, you are well on your way to starting a fabulous diet that will not feel like a diet, it will become your lifestyle. It will help with your weight-loss and over all health. So, there you go, this is your new outline to starting your healthy meal plans to lose weight. In the upcoming articles, I will give you some more meal ideas and few extra tips to rid of the few extra pounds.

Healthy Meal Plans For Those on the Go

Most people try to eat healthy. No one intentionally starts their day with a list of bad foods they are going to try to eat before they collapse into bed at night. The problem with healthy eating is that many people don’t take the time necessary to create healthy meal plans for those on the go that will fit their lifestyles or habits.

The first step for planning a healthy meal involves knowing what, and when a person is eating. It is important to spend a week writing down everything that one eats. Some people drink three or four cups of coffee in the morning, have a donut at work for breakfast, and eat a granola bar or three before lunch. They don’t have a lot of time, so most grab a quick burger and fries for lunch. After eating the rest of the box of granola bars in the afternoon, around three they’ll eat a candy bar or two so they will have the energy to go home and eat something that they either have picked up or can cook in less than thirty minutes. After dinner, they may have to go to a meeting where they will drink more coffee, have cake or cookies, then go home and go to bed after a relaxing bowl of ice cream.

When this person jumps on the healthy eating wagon, two things are going to happen immediately. First, they will start experiencing an excruciating headache because they will be cutting out an enormous amount of sugar that their body has become addicted to. Secondly, they will experience withdrawal symptoms from the chemicals that they have become addicted to that are contained in all of the fast and junk food they’ve been eating.

For these reasons, and the fact that the term “healthy meals” is associated with a lot of time intensive work, most people don’t eat healthy. Effective healthy meal plans must begin with the assumption that the person planning the meals has been eating for awhile. They must include a “plan” that includes ways to avoid the cravings, withdrawal, and headaches that follow getting off bad foods “cold turkey”.

The key to healthy meal plans for those on the go is to start simply. Some people find that planning one part of their meals at a time and following the plan for a week or two, then gradually expanding to include more meals, is much more successful than creating a structured meal plan. This is totally a matter of personal style.

Healthy meal plans often do not take into consideration that for many people snacks are a meal. By planning for snacks just as one would for a meal, they will be more successful in implementing an effective plan. So, start creating a healthy meal plan with some basic changes that are going to help the body be prepared for additional healthy meals.

Eating Healthy Meals Together Improve More Than Just the Body

It is natural that eating a healthy meal with your family can improve your health. Researchers have long known that eating healthy is the key to a longer life and physical fitness. Eating a healthy meal can improve your overall mood, give you more energy, and make you feel better in general.

People who eat with their family are less likely to eat unhealthy foods. When someone eats alone they are more likely to eat junk food, prepackaged quick meals, or frozen dinners. When you serve healthy meals you tend to take care both preparing and eating.

Researchers agree that eating healthy meals with your family helps you concentrate and can improve your performance at work or school. There has been a lot of research on this in the past and all of it shows that eating together can improve almost all aspects of your life.

When you eat with your family you also have more of a say in what and how much your children eat. By demonstrating healthy eating habits you are showing your children how to eat. It is natural for them to pick up good eating habits when they see them. Modeling is a great way to influence your children.

It is important to realize that serving your family healthy meals bring your family closer together. A good conversation over dinner is an excellent way to catch up with your family in a non-confrontational way. There is nothing better than sitting down over a meal and talking with your family.

Planning healthy meals is also very important. Planning a meal means to take more time in thinking about healthy choices. If the meal is preplanned then there is less of a chance that you will use unhealthy substitutions. If you want a healthy alternative to frozen dinners you can prepare double one day and then freeze half of it. When you are ready or just do not have time to cook you can defrost the meal.

Overall healthy family meals are a great way to eat well, bond with your family, and improve their performance at work or school. It helps to strengthen family ties and helps keep families together.

Five Food Groups Not Normally Associated With Preparing Healthy Meals

Here is a different take on preparing healthy meals for you and your family.

Our bodies are complex organic machines which can more than comfortably handle fats, carbohydrates, protein and anything else you might once have thought to be “unhealthy”, as long as we don’t continually barrage our bodies with heavily processed foods containing ingredients which act as toxins in our bodies.

It is only in very recent times that doctors have started to learn of this research and start to encourage their patients to more healthy meals containing much less of this one core ingredient, which is eaten by almost everyone, every day, without even realizing it.

So what is this critical ingredient?

Sugar – more specifically, Fructose which makes up approximately half of sugar as we know it.

Sugar is in basic terms 50% Glucose and 50% Fructose, and while Glucose is fine, the Fructose is now known to be a toxin in our systems.

So, while we have been diligently preparing what we have believed to be nutritionally balanced and healthy meals for our families, what we have been quite oblivious to is that sugar is contained in just about every processed food and condiment we place in front of our families daily.

Take Tomato and BBQ sauce – Eaten almost daily. These sauces contain more sugar than a can of soft drink, and that is way more than we need or our bodies can handle.

The challenge of creating healthy meals which contain minimal sugar but still taste great.

As mentioned in the title of this article, there are five core food groups we can turn to as a great starting points for creating delicious healthy meals the whole family will love. There are some basic foods you will also need to avoid if you are to create meals which are truly healthy, particularly for our kids.

Good foods which have no or low Fructose are:

Full fat dairy products:

Milk, cream, cheeses, yoghurt and butter all contain Lactose, a form of sugar which we have no trouble metabolizing and is not “bad” for us. Just don’t add flavourings (eg; flavoured milk or yoghurt) as the flavourings contain Fructose.

All meats:

Lamb, Pork, Beef, and all Game meats are fine as are Fish, Chicken Turkey, and Game birds. None contain fructose, and while lean is good, don’t panic about removing all the fat, as our bodies are comfortable with “managing” these types of fats.

Vegetables:

Most vegetables are low in Fructose and are great natural sources of natural vitamins and minerals and go perfectly with the foods mentioned above. Vegetables are a great healthy snack when eaten raw as well, so start encouraging your kids to eat vegetable “snacks” instead of heading straight to the pantry.

Eggs:

Eggs are a great source of protein and despite what we may have been told, are a healthy ingredient in any form.

Water:

No surprise here, but all too often our kids head straight for juices or sweet fizzy drinks which are loaded with sugar, so try changing to drinking water or milk with your meals.

So in a nutshell, the best and most healthy meals will contain some or all of the foods groups noted above. A good basic rule to work to is “if it tastes sweet, it most likely contains sugar, so avoid it if you can”.

Healthy Meal Planning – Guidelines To Follow

These days when junk foods, processed foods and other unhealthy edible treats are very common in the market, it is of importance that you know how you can plan your meals. Planning meals will help you eat healthily.

Healthy meal planning is something that many people may find challenging, yet with the help of some pointers, you can certainly ease this difficulty and make sure that everything you and your family eat is delicious and nourishing.

• Develop a cycle menu for about 4-6 weeks. This will help provide variety to your meals.

• Your menu cycle must include balance; Balance in flavors such as sweet, sour, savory, tart and lightly spicy. This balance will help awaken and stimulate the taste buds. Balance also refers to the contained nutrients in each meal. Meals that you will prepare and serve to your family must provide them with nutrients. Meals should have protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and other nourishing components found in a variety of foods.

• Your meals must be emphasized with variety. Change the types of menus that you prepare and serve every day. Every now and then, you may try to cook foods that are unfamiliar to you.

• Contrast is also another important aspect of meal planning. Food texture and appearance of foods must be considered. Textures of food include smoothness, crispness and fluffiness. You should avoid using excessive amount of the same kind of foods in just one meal. Make your dish striking by using different shapes and sizes of ingredients.

• Color also makes the meals and foods appealing to the eyes. When your dish has only one color, you tend to have less desire to eat it; but if the food has various colors in it, your mind thinks that it is delicious even if you have not tasted it yet. Vegetables and fruits add the natural colors you need in your meals.

• In planning meals, there are several things that contribute to your challenges like calorie counts. To be successful in healthy meal planning, you can avoid all these difficulties by making everything simple. Meal planning does not have to include too extravagant or elaborate meals every day. You just have to stick to foods that you love and enjoy. There are also easy recipes that you can find online which incorporate ingredients that are new to you.

• In making changes to your diet, you should not do it all at once. Make changes gradually and slowly. It would not be realistic to make your entire meals on the completely healthy side in just one night.

• There are certain foods that you know are not that healthy enough, but you should not consider these foods are wholly prohibited. You may still include them in your meals, but what’s important is you consume them moderately.

• Remember that you may plan the healthiest meal of all, yet if your attitude in eating will not be healthy, then your efforts may all be for nothing. Eat your planned meals with the family and enjoy them together. Always eat breakfast to jumpstart the metabolism.

Try One New Healthy Meal Every Week

When you’re truly ready to start changing your nutrition around, one of the best ways to get a strong handle this is to try a new healthy meal every week at home. When you’re attempting to change your nutrition in order to eat in a more healthy manner, it’s important you break out of your normal routine. One of the main causes for excessive weight gain is due to the food choices made on a regular basis.

If you often visit fast food spots, restaurants, or order home pizza delivery, then you will likely consistently have issues trying to tackle the weight loss issue since those meals generally provide far too large of potions for one single meal.

The best part about trying a new healthy meal every week is that you can designate one particular day where you and your family try out a new recipe. Maybe give the day a special name too if you have young children such as “Healthy Wednesday”, or “Friday Family Dinner Night”.

To take this one step further, you can even rotate the choice so that each person gets to research and choose the meal that looks most appealing to them so that everyone feels part of this healthy life transition.

You will find that when you stick with healthy cooking habits, not only will you save your body from eating excessive portions of food at meals, but you will focus more on your daily nutrition which will eventually translate to weight loss success.

Another benefit to cooking meals at home is that you will be able to portion leftovers into plastic travel containers to take with you to work. Not only will you enjoy a healthy meal at home with your family, but you will also be able to eat nutritiously at work the following day.

When you’re ready to give this an honest effort all you have to do is a quick Internet search using the terms ‘healthy dinners’ or ‘healthy meals’ and you should find a plethora of new healthy meal options right at your digital fingertips.

Try not to pick a meal that is too complex or one that will take hours of preparation on your part. You want this healthy habit to not only be tasty, but fun to do at the same time. Usually the recipes you find on the Internet will include both preparation and cooking times so you should get a good idea of the amount of work it will take to prepare your healthy meal.

Be sure to write out a specific ingredient list of all the items you will need to purchase from the supermarket. Nothing is more frustrating than to get ready to cook only to realize you are missing one or two crucial items needed to prepare the meal. Save yourself time and headaches and carefully write out everything you’ll need to buy from the market.

Taking the initiative to create a weekly family tradition to prepare a new healthy meal each week will get you really focused on proper nutrition. Remember weight loss success is 70% dependent on your daily nutrition so it takes a hefty amount of effort on your part to get everything in order. The more often you choose to cook at home, the sooner you will kick the fast food habit and have much more control over your portion size and nutritional intake.

Experiment With A New Healthy Meal Every Week

For those focusing on eating in a more healthy nutritious manner, one way to help you stick with this positive change is committing to trying a new healthy meal each week.

Surprising as it sounds, many people who start out with the intention of eating healthier get stuck at the onset because they have no idea of what to prepare. Most have been eating in such a detrimental manner for years, or even worse decades, it’s difficult to know how to get started.

This is why it’s imperative to start creating an arsenal of healthy recipes. Best yet, designate a recipe book or a simple notepad you keep in a kitchen drawer so you have it right at hand on a moments notice. It is in this specific location where you’ll store all the healthy meals you’ve prepared.

A Great Way To Start Changing Your Nutrition Is To Try Out A New Healthy Meal Every Week

As a way to not overwhelm yourself, just choose one meal you want to try out each week. You can even designate a certain day of the week when your family knows it will be experiment-with-a-healthy-meal night. Call it something special such as “Wonderful Healthy Wednesday” or “Terrific Tasting Thursday”. Then if most everyone enjoys what you prepare, you know you have a winner and that recipe needs to be added to your healthy recipe book.

It may also help to take a picture to print and attach right alongside the recipe in the book for future reference. A simple visual cue will help remind you of that particular meal at a later date.

Where Should You Start Looking For Healthy Recipes?

There are numerous places you can start looking for healthy meals such as a library, bookstore, Amazon, or even a simple Google search. You will find that if you input the search query ‘healthy recipes’ or ‘free healthy recipes’, you will get pages upon pages of results. Check the top 5 and you should come across plenty of recipes to get you going on your healthy way.

If you get into the habit of trying out one new healthy meal every week, you will potentially have 52 meals under your belt within one year’s time! Not bad for just trying out one healthy meal every week. Having over 50 healthy meals at your disposal will be a gigantic leap forward in developing and maintaining healthy nutrition for you and your family and will most likely inspire additional healthy habits to develop.

Cooking Healthy Meals – Make A Weekly Meal Plan For Cooking Healthy Meals

I have really grown to enjoy cooking and I do my best at cooking healthy meals for my family. One thing I have found to help me do this is to make a weekly meal plan. It keeps us from eating out too much (which also saves money) and helps with our waist lines too.

So at the beginning of a new week this is what I do. I sit down and make a shopping list for each meal I want to prepare for the week. Once you have everything you need for cooking a healthy meal it makes it hard to back out of making it.

Our breakfast I like to keep simple since we have a hard time getting going in the morning. I like to stick to eggs, turkey bacon or sausage, some veggies to mix in with the eggs, original plain oatmeal (for our toddler) and milk. Some things that I consider basics.

For lunch I like to keep things on hand for sandwiches; lunch meat, cheese, peanut butter and jelly (for the little one). Usually what happens though is we end up with leftovers from dinner so I don’t have to pick up too many extras for our lunches.

Now with dinner I like to mix things up a bit to make them a little more interesting and flavorful. I can’t say that I’m the most creative person when it comes to cooking healthy meals for dinner. I grew up eating a diet of meat, rice and vegetables. So I don’t always know exactly what I want to prepare each week.

What I do though is pull out my collection of recipes from magazines and cookbooks to get some ideas. Yes I use them every week and if you choose the right ones I have found many gear towards cooking healthy meals.

Personally I like to choose any where from three to five meals that I want to prepare. After I know what they are I write down the ingredients that I don’t have on hand and add them to the list. Having a list to follow keeps me from forgetting what it is I need to buy and prevents me from grabbing a bunch of things that we don’t need.

We still choose eat out once a week because we like to have that break from the kitchen and it is also a treat to eat something that I normally would not prepare at home. We also enjoy entertaining or dining with our friends and family on the weekends. This doesn’t stop me from cooking the healthy meals I’ve planned; I just share them.

Healthy Meals To Lose Weight

Eating healthy meals to lose weight that also are tasty doesn’t have to be an elusive proposition. It does take a strong determination on your part to resolve to do so. There are tons of recipes out there, healthy and not healthy. It is sometimes time consuming to weed through to the ones you really enjoy plus are healthy meals that will help you lose weight.

Having healthy meals helps you to lose weight partly by decreasing the desire to eat unnecessary calories. Our bodies often signal our brains that we need to eat because it is missing a certain nutrient. If we answer that signal by eating more of the wrong things devoid of nutritional value, your body will signal again. This can contribute to continual weight gain. Of course, our body doesn’t plainly say, “hey, I really need some vitamin C in here, could you eat an orange please?” We need to be aware of the value of our choices. We need to make a conscious effort to provide our bodies with well rounded meals. If we don’t do this, our bodies can’t be expected to function at their best. We will likely at some point develop health problems either from poor nutrition, weight gain or both. This affects our overall enjoyment of life.

Simple Changes To Make Meals Healthier

Changing your daily habits to include healthy meals each and every day may take some effort at first, but once you slowly change these habits, it will get easier. There are a few simple changes that will automatically cut out a lot of extra calories. These are minor changes that can have a major impact. They are things that should be considered in your overall plan to lose weight.

1. Use olive oil as much as possible when needing oil or a vegetable oil. No lard or saturated fats.

2. Avoid frying foods whenever possible. Baking is much healthier.

3. Avoid pure butter and even margarine (as most are full of chemicals). Use a butter specially made without transfat whenever possible. It is much more healthy for your heart.

4. Avoid meats with a lot of fat in them. Cut off the fat whenever possible.

5. Sit down when you eat. If your family resides with you, sit down together for meals.

6. Eat slower, chewing each bite at least 15-20 times before swallowing. This will help you enjoy your food more and give your body a chance to know when its full, avoiding overeating.

7. Limit your intake of sugary drinks like sodas and juices. They add unhealthy calories and actually cause you to want to eat more due to the fluctuation in blood sugar levels. Alcohol can have a similar effect.

Healthy Meals, Healthy Snacking, Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to choosing healthy meals, to lose weight will include watching your snacking habits too. Healthier snacks between meals will help you feel better and keep your blood sugar level more balanced. These are all lifestyle changes. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a piece of cheesecake or a bowl of ice cream now and then. On the contrary actually. If your daily nutrition level is good, then it will actually allow an indulgence now and then in a snack that is less than nutritious.