Make and Take Meals: Fast-Food Alternatives
Good nutrition and good fast food can go hand in hand.
Healthy Fast Food: At Home
Stock Your Cabinets With Fast, Nutritious Food
Planning helps you pull your own fast-food act together. Get out the calendar and figure out your food needs for the week ahead. Make a quick list. Now it's time to shop. Consider stocking:
- Whole-grain breads and cereals, pasta, and prepared pizza crust.
- Milk, reduced-fat shredded cheese, eggs, canned tuna, canned beans, peanut butter, lean ground beef patties, chicken, and meatballs.
- Fresh, frozen, or no-added-salt canned vegetables; fresh and dried fruit; and fruit canned in juice.
- Quick-cooking grains such as 10-minute brown rice and whole-wheat couscous.
- Cartons of 100% orange juice, milk, applesauce, peanut butter, and yogurt in your fridge and cabinets. These work great for road trips, too.
Work the Weekends
Just a couple of hours spent cooking main courses one or two weekends a month works wonders for whipping up fast and healthy food on hectic weeknights. Tips to try:
- Let your slow cooker save you time. Throw the ingredients for chili or beef stew in and turn to other activities.
- Roast a chicken or turkey. This frees you up to concentrate on projects around the house, too.
- Put together a pan or two of lasagna.
- Make double batches of anything you cook, and freeze half.
Super Sandwich Suppers
Sandwiches can help you get supper on the table super fast. For tasty fast-food alternatives, try:
- Pre-formed lean beef burger patties or veggie burgers. Serve on whole-grain buns. Pair with cooked frozen carrots and peas; fruit; and milk.
- Barbecue pulled pork served on whole grain buns with corn and fruit on the side.
- Tuna melts with reduced-fat cheese on whole-wheat bread, and salad.
- Quesadillas made with low-fat cheese, fat-free refried beans, and leftover chicken served with a green salad.
Breakfast for Dinner
"Eggs are the basis of several quick and nutritious dinners," Neville says. For example, try:
- Scrambled eggs served in whole-wheat pita pockets with salsa and low-fat grated cheese; salad; milk or 100% juice, such as orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
- Whole-grain French toast, applesauce for dipping, and milk.
- Omelets made with leftover cooked vegetables and served with whole-grain rolls, fruit and milk.
- Hard cook a half dozen eggs. Toss them in salads, or use them for grab-and-go snacks or lunch.