What to Eat Instead of Fast Food
13 quick-fix ideas to help you drive past the drive-through.
Healthy Meals at Home continued...
Quick Baked Potato: It's a perfect addition
to a healthy meal, and you can get oven-baked taste in less time than you
think. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the potato, then microwave on high
for about 4 minutes. Rinse it again so it's wet. Finish baking in oven for 10
to 15 minutes. "It's nice and crispy outside, with the texture of an
oven-baked potato inside," Fischer says.
Quick Chicken Dinner: Chicken is a yummy
beginning to a nice, lean meal, Fisher says. Skin a whole chicken. Then shake
on the spices -- lemon pepper, Cajun spice, or paprika. Thyme and rosemary can
go into the cavity, if you like. Place chicken in an oven-cooking bag. Then
microwave on high for 10 minutes.
"I arrange the chicken on a platter of lettuce, surrounded by fresh
asparagus or green beans or both, lots of grapes, orange slices," Fischer
tells WebMD. "People can pick and choose whatever they want. It makes a
marvelous steamed chicken."
Easy Black Bean Soup: Soup is a great
filler-upper and can be a very healthy meal. Heat black beans and corn (frozen
or canned) in the microwave. Ladle into bowls. Top with any of these: chopped
tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, black olives, shredded reduced-fat cheese,
"plus a few lime slices, to make it look really pretty," says
"In South America, you might have a fresh whole tomato or fresh avocado
at the bottom of your soup," she adds. "As you eat the soup, you scoop
bits of tomato or avocado with it. Also, adding some rice makes a thicker soup.
It's a really neat, healthy meal!"
Veggie Soup: A quick vegetable soup also
works well, says Cindy Moore, MS, RD, director of nutrition therapy at The
Cleveland Clinic and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
Like Fischer, she relies on canned and frozen foods, as well as quick-cook
grains, when pressed for time.
"You're starting with a canned soup that already has some element of
flavor," Moore tells WebMD. "But when you add more vegetables, some
grains like barley or quick-cook rice, plus beans or fish, you're diluting the
sodium and calories. You're also adding fiber and protein."
Pasta Pronto: Put any of these over pasta
(either regular or whole-wheat, or a mix of both), Moore suggests:
- Mix tomato-based pasta sauce (any brand you like) with frozen or canned
shrimp, clams, or oysters.
- Heat frozen spinach soufflé or creamed spinach, and top with Parmesan
- Mix frozen spinach soufflé and Lean Cuisine Fettuccine Alfredo.
Super Salads: Salads can be a healthy meal
in themselves. With a bit of crusty bread and a little protein like fish,
seafood, beans, or lean meat, you've got dinner in a bowl. More ideas:
- Mix frozen broccoli and corn, chop up red bell pepper, mix with Italian
salad dressing, and you've got an easy salad, says Moore.
- Buy lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes in the grocery's produce section. At
the salad bar, buy all the other stuff. "It's quick, and you don't have to
spend much," she tells WebMD.