It can sometimes seem like an overwhelming challenge to make sure you are always serving nutritious meals and snacks, especially when you are too busy to really think much about what’s for dinner. Fortunately, by making just a few simple changes to the way you shop and the way you cook, you can make your food healthier and more nutritious. Follow these easy tips for fast, effortless ways to serve healthier food.
Buy a Steamer Basket
They cost only a few dollars, but provide you with the healthiest, quickest method of cooking your vegetables. Steaming food allows as many of the nutrients to stay inside the food as possible. Boiling causes nutrients to leach out into the water, and sends them down the drain. Microwaving can overcook vegetables and leave them limp and rubbery. Steaming leaves your vegetables looking delicious, allows you to control how cooked you would like them to be, and requires no extra fat to cook.
The frozen food aisles are now full of steam in the bag options for your microwave, which are great but the cost will add up over time. By investing in a steamer basket that fits inside any standard pot, you can buy the freshest, most nutrient packed vegetables and cook them in the healthiest way.
Switch to Whole Grains
This doesn’t just mean bread. Most people know that whole wheat bread is better for you than white, but many don’t realize that brown rice is a better choice than white rice. Just like with the wheat in your bread, white rice has been stripped off all the good stuff – fiber and nutrients. Even if it has been enriched to add nutrients back in, the fiber has been lost for good. Choosing brown rice will give every meal a nutritional boost.
The same goes for pasta, cereals, and even snack crackers. Just by choosing a whole grain option rather than the refined grain, you will increase your fiber intake and make both meals and snacks healthier.
Double Up on Vegetables
When serving up a plate of food, make sure that the vegetables take up more room on your plate than any other part of the meal. Your serving of vegetables should be larger than either protein or grains. By eating more vegetables and less meat, pasta, rice or potatoes, you will eat meal higher in nutrients while also lower in calories. Fill up on the veggies and you will be less likely to overeat those foods you need less of – or those you don’t need to eat at all!
Change Your Beverage
Instead of serving soda with a meal, choose a healthy glass of milk or even fruit juice for extra nutrition. Soda will only provide you with empty calories, or in the case of diet soda, chemicals with no nutritional value at all. When serving your kids a beverage with their meal, stick to milk unless they haven’t had any juice that day. Kids should really only have one serving of juice a day, even if it does contain more nutrition than water.
A meal served with a healthier beverage is a healthier one overall. Just make sure that kids are eating their food and not just downing the milk. It might be necessary to hold back the beverage until the food starts to disappear.
These may seem too good to be true, but they really are simple changes that will make a big difference in nutrition. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to make a healthy meal!