Foods today, for the most part, taste good, but are devoid of proper nutrition. This can lead to all kinds of health issues that often result in serious chronic illness. But, the good news is that you can make easy and nutritious makeovers on the most popular foods without sacrificing taste.
Foods: Chicken Nuggets
Chicken nuggets are super popular as the big chains are selling tons. Although, they taste great, they’re high in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar, but low in nutritional value. So, why don’t you switch over to a baked version that contains lean protein, with no fillers and less fat.
- Pulse a couple of slices of toasted whole wheat bread, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and your favorite spices in the food processor.
- Dip chicken breast tenders in a beaten egg, then breadcrumbs.
- Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350 F until golden brown.
Foods: Macaroni and Cheese
Cut unhealthy saturated fat from this kid and adult favorite by revamping your cheese sauce. Use low-fat cheese and 1% milk. Concerned about creaminess? Replace half of your shredded cheese with pureed low-fat cottage cheese or butternut squash.
Mix with whole-wheat pasta to make it healthier and more filling. There’s also quinoa or brown rice pasta. If you and your kids aren’t fans of whole grains, get them used to it by mixing it with regular pasta.
Chili is a super favorite food that is fast and easy to prepare. Go healthy on this hearty dish by trimming the fat by using lean ground beef or lean turkey. Or you can skip the meat and use a few types of beans and lots of vegetables.
Adding tomatoes, sauteed squash, peppers, and onions adds fiber and nutrition. In addition, cut down on sodium content by rinsing beans and using other seasonings instead of salt. And finally, top it off with low-fat cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. You don’t have to call me Joe, just remember to call me over for dinner.
Foods: Chicken Pot Pie
Another American big-time favorite dating back to the Pilgrims and The Thirteen Colonies of these United States. This comfort food can be a fat bomb if it’s made with cream and a buttery crust. To slim it down, use:
- Low-fat milk and only half the butter for the sauce
- White-meat chicken with no skin
- Lots of vegetables, like peas, carrots, and green beans
- Only a top crust. Or skip crust altogether and top with mashed sweet potatoes instead.
Man, writing this blog is making me real hungry. Let’s see, what else we got for you.
Burritos and Tacos
Another favorite from the Land Of Mexico. Bueno! Healthy eating on Mexican night is easy. Try to build burritos or tacos so they’re at least half veggies:
- Use medium whole wheat or corn tortillas or 6-inch shells.
- Fill with 90% lean meat or fajita-style chicken.
- Add fat-free refried beans or black or pinto beans for fiber.
- Layer in veggies like peppers, tomatoes, corn, and shredded lettuce.
- Top with 1/4 cup or less of low-fat shredded cheese or a few slices of avocado.
Now you’re talking my language, my friend. A few tweaks to your recipe can make this hearty Italian dish even healthier:
- Use whole wheat noodles.
- Use part-skim ricotta and low-fat mozzarella cheeses.
- Add lots of vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and thawed, drained frozen spinach.
- If you use meat, make sure it’s at least 90% lean.
If meatloaf is a family mainstay, change your ingredients a bit to lower the fat and boost fiber and vitamins. It’s still filling and flavorful.
- Use ground beef, turkey, or chicken that’s at least 90% lean.
- Make your own breadcrumbs using stale whole wheat bread, or replace breadcrumbs with quick-cooking oats.
- Add chopped spinach, celery,onions, tomatoes, or grated carrots or zucchini to the mix.
Start by experimenting with whole-grain and multigrain pastas. They taste just as light and tender as the standard versions.
Add shredded carrots, zucchini, or chopped spinach to tomato sauce for more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Bake, don’t fry, golf ball-sized meatballs made with 90% lean ground beef and whole wheat breadcrumbs.
Foods: Cookies and Brownies
Now for the grand finale!!
Sweet treats are fine every now and then. Try making small brownies and serving them with fruit. Here you go!
- For cookies, sub out 1/3 of the flour with quick-cooking oats. It makes them healthier and adds a good texture.
- In brownies replace half the oil with applesauce, yogurt, or fruit puree to reduce the fat and improve the nutrition.
- Make smaller cookies.
Food can be healthy and tasty at the same time. Preserve your health by incorporating these flavorful recipe changes without compromising taste.
To your Health!