Many people these days are looking for ways to save money and eat healthier. Many are daunted by the idea of shopping and cooking from scratch, and yet this is exactly what’s needed to really eat well and get the most value for your food dollar. Luckily, meal planning and preparation are not really as challenging as the fast food and processed food industries would have you believe. In this article, we will share some ideas for planning and preparing healthy dinner recipes to save money and improve your health. Read on to learn more.
Start out by just saying no to fast food and processed food. These types of food like substances contain little nutritional value and end up wasting your food dollar and costing you money in terms of health care. Instead, look for simple ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible. Meats, fish, dairy products, (or non-animal based protein sources) fresh produce and whole grains make up a complete, balanced diet that will keep you healthy. Try approaching learning to cook as a new hobby. Cooking well takes some study and experience, but it is far from impossible and you don’t have to be a gourmet chef to produce excellent meals.
At the outset, be sure to invest in a basic set of high quality cookware and utensils. Having good equipment to work with will make all the difference in the world in your results and your level of satisfaction with your accomplishments.
One thing you will learn as you study healthy dinner recipes is how to plan for the right amount of food for the people you will serve. When you are cooking for health, you should pay attention to both the contents of the food and the amount served. For example, plan for your meat servings to be approximately four ounces or the size of a deck of playing cards. This may not seem like much; however, you will be happy to know that truly healthy eating involves eating a whole lot of fresh, delicious veggies. You can fill your plate with steamed veggies and/or salad as long as you don’t drown your side dishes with commercially prepared, processed sauces!
When planning your veggie and salad sides for your healthy dinner, be sure to plan a colorful array. The idea today is to eat a rainbow for good health. Your salads should contain green lettuce, red tomatoes, purple beans, black olives, cream colored chickpeas and more for complete health, nutrition and visual interest.
Remember to include whole grains in your your diet. You can also add a side of brown rice, couscous, whole grain bread or some other whole grain selection. The basic idea is to have half of your meal made up of fresh produce, a quarter made up of lean protein source and a quarter made up of whole grains. This configuration can form the basis for a wide array of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals.
Add healthy, non-hydrogenated oils to your diet in the form of peanut oil for cooking and flax seed and olive oil for salad dressings and to spread on bread. If you have issues with peanuts then you’ll probably want to check out peanut-free recipes. Coconut oil is also good for this and to use in hot cereals such as old-fashioned, whole oatmeal. Be careful not to eat processed or hydrogenated oils (such as margarine).
For desserts, enjoy fresh fruit and non-processed, natural yogurt or homemade, simple ice cream.
To begin learning to cook healthy dinner recipes for meal planning, you will want to master the basics of cooking. Purchase a good, basic cookbook and/or watch online videos to learn how to boil, sautee and steam. These are the basic essentials to cookery. Of course, there is much, much more to learn, but once you have these basics down you can actually cook a wide variety of foods. Before you know it, you will be following recipes with ease and even creating your own healthy dinner recipes.