Easy, Healthy Meals
Today’s moms aren’t confident in their ability to consistently prepare nutritious meals. That’s the finding of Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., RD professor of nutritional sciences at Rutgers University. By studying the minds of moms, she found:
Eating nutritious meals as a family is a priority of moms with young kids.
Mothers have a strong desire to learn how to prepare nutritious meals.
Moms find it hard to fix healthy meals when they’re busy or stressed.
Moms don’t equate nutrition with foods that are “convenient”.
A Missed Opportunity
Because moms report not finding convenience foods appealing, healthy or easy to prepare, they may be overlooking simple ways to put nutritious meals on the table.
One-third of Americans decide what to eat for dinner at the last minute. Last minute meals are almost always less nutritious. However, by planning ahead, a last minute meal can be easy and healthy too.
Good nutrition does not depend on using only fresh ingredients. Convenience and nutrition can coexist thanks to canned and frozen foods. Since canned and frozen foods are already cooked, busy moms can stock up to save time cooking. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh and they are accessible for all people in all locations at all times of year.
Read the Label
You can identify the absolute most nutritious canned and frozen convenience foods by reading the Nutrition Facts food label. Per serving, look for:
- Total fat: 1 gram or less
- Saturated fat: 15% of total calories or less
- Cholesterol: 60 milligrams or less
- Sodium: 480 milligrams or less
- Trans fat: 0 grams
- Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, and Fiber: at least 10% of the DV for one or more
Canned beans, tomatoes and broths are at the base of many healthy meals. How about frozen shrimp and frozen corn and strawberries? And don't forget about evaporated skim milk. Here’s a list of pantry staples from The Guide to Busy Cooks at About.com. Store these items and keep a list of quick recipes you can make from them.
Which easy, healthy recipes are on your list?