Quick, healthy food for back to school
MANILA, Philippines - To parents who want their kids to eat healthy food and to health-conscious students, the school season can be a stressful time when it comes to meal planning. Because of busy schedules and limited time to prepare meals, health can sometimes be compromised in favor of convenience.
There is a way to choose healthy meal options without — or at least less — the hassle. Below are some healthy food suggestions that won’t stress you out during preparation (and result in food which are fun to eat, too):
1. Put a healthy twist to usual breakfast fare
Make common breakfast options healthy by mixing healthy ingredients in them. For example, instead of just scrambling eggs, you can make a vegetable omelet by mixing in onions, tomatoes and bell peppers (these are crunchy and sweet).
You can even sneak in some leafy greens like pechay and spinach. Use your creativity and you can use many possible ingredients to make a healthy omelet.
Here is a recipe for a healthy vegetable omelet:
You can make pancakes healthy by mixing in oatmeal and/or ground flax seeds. These will make the pancakes crunchier and nuttier.
You can also mix in a little camote (sweet potato) in the pancake batter. Not only are sweet potatoes great for energy, they have beta carotene, too.
As a pancake topping, use fresh fruits for added color and flavor. [Ed's note: Organic honey is a great substitute for maple syrup.]
The rule of thumb when it comes to livening up breakfast or any meal is to put color and not just healthy ingredients. Make the most of the spectrum of colorful fruits and vegetables and include them in your meal planning.
2. Turn 'sinful' and party options into healthy meals
Pizza is supposed to be a junk food kids and adults love. You can make your own healthy version, using just about any vegetable topping to make your pizza colorful and appetizing.
Put red and green bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and even pineapples. If you are on a budget, you can still make delicious pizza with less ingredients if you prefer.
Make your pizza dough in advance if you want everything in your pizza homemade, or just buy whole wheat pizza dough or whole wheat pita to make small pizzas.
Here's how to prepare healthy pizza in 10 minutes:
Spaghetti is another common party fare, especially in the Philippines. Choose whole grain spaghetti for a healthier meal. You can choose to make an olive oil-based or tomato sauce-based spaghetti.
Just add vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers and mushrooms for color and flavor. You can also put tuna or lean meat.
Here is a healthy spaghetti dish that can be cooked in 30 minutes:
3. Make fruits and vegetables the star, but make them appetizing
Color and variety are the key words when it comes to making meals appealing not only to the palate but to the eyes as well.
Here’s an idea: skewer different fruits into a stick to make a fruit kebab. This will make for a healthy and refreshing snack.
Check out an easy kebab recipe here:
You can also blend different fruits into a smoothie for a healthy breakfast or snack. Make sure you include bananas, as these can give enough energy for several hours.
You can even mix some leafy greens in the smoothie for a powerful nutrition boost.
If you are a parent and you feel your kid might be intimidated by a green smoothie, why not play a game? Make your child drink while blindfolded and see if he/she loves it. Seeing the color only after tasting it might just make a difference.
You can find more healthy smoothie recipes here. - Rappler.com
Claire Madarang is a writer, traveler, and seeker. Her wanderlust takes her on adventures like backpacking for 7 weeks straight. Her seeking leads her to different wellness practices like meditation and healthy (mostly vegetarian) eating. Follow her adventures, tips, and epiphanies at her blog, Traveling Light.