If you’ve been trying to eat at home lately, and you’re in a rut, you are not alone. It’s hard to come up with ideas that keep meals healthy, quick and interesting. If you are feeding picky eaters, it can be even more difficult.
If you want to keep it simple, these are some of my favorite healthy meals to help change your routine.
This is a healthier version of pasta alfredo, which can have loads of fat and very little nutrition for the calories. Bake the salmon with your favorite seasoning to give this dish extra flavor.
8 ounces dry whole-wheat pasta (I like Barilla ProteinPLUS Penne)
1/4 cup butter blend
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (use 2 percent if you can find it)
12 to 16 ounces cooked salmon, flaked into chunks
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
½ cup mushrooms, chopped
Season and bake salmon for 20 minutes at 400 F. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook 11 to 13 minutes or until al dente; drain.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter blend and add milk. Whisk the flour in to thicken. Gradually add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Crumble cooked salmon into the sauce mixture. Stir in spinach, capers, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, about 3 minutes, or until heated through.
Serve over or stir into the cooked pasta.
Nutrition information per serving: 310 calories; 30 g protein; 30 g carbohydrate; 7 g fat (2 g saturated)
Chicken “Fried” Rice
Forget the takeout and try this version of fried rice. It is super balanced, includes a great source of protein and is sure to satisfy picky eaters.
12-ounce bag frozen brown rice
12-ounce bag of frozen mixed veggies, such as corn, carrots, broccoli and snap peas
½ cup egg whites or 1 whole egg and 3 extra egg whites
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce or teriyaki sauce
½-pound boneless chicken breast, chopped in chunks
Steam veggies and rice separately in the microwave.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet. Cook chicken evenly, until no pink is present. Add a bit of cooking spray to your skillet until coated, reduce heat, and add rice and vegetables.
Move all ingredients as much to the side as possible, then add eggs to skillet. Immediately stir eggs, and as they solidify, begin to incorporate into the rice mixture. Add soy or teriyaki to taste, and continue stirring until eggs are evenly mixed/scrambled into the rice and chicken mixture.
Serve with extra sauce and/or sliced almonds, sesame seeds, etc. as desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 270 calories; 26 g protein; 20 g carbohydrate; 9 g fat (2 g saturated)
Lemon, Garlic, Spinach and Shrimp Pasta
This recipe is balanced and flavorful and popular with kids.
8 ounces dry pasta, such as whole wheat or higher protein varieties
8 ounces frozen shrimp, thawed, tail off and deveined
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6-ounce package fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon lemon rind, grated
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Cook pasta according to package directions.
While cooking pasta, place shrimp in a skillet coated with cooking spray. Add one clove minced garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Cook until flesh of shrimp is opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat.
To prepare spinach, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add one clove minced garlic to pan; cook 1 minute. Add half of spinach; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add remaining spinach. Cook 4 minutes or until wilted, stirring frequently.
Sprinkle spinach mixture with lemon rind.
Stir in juice; remove from heat.
Drain pasta, then add shrimp and pasta into pan with spinach mixture. Toss, and top with grated parmesan before serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 262 calories; 18 g protein; 42 g carbohydrate; 3 g fat (0 g saturated)