Lighten Up! Your Meals That Is…

Summer is here and like it or not, it’s time to start thinking about warm weather clothes, getting back into that old bathing suit and possibly shedding a few pounds that seemed to have cropped up out of nowhere.  Whether weight loss is a goal or not, this time of year marks a need for fast, easy to prepare meals, that are light and nutritious with preferably no stove or oven required.

Time is of the Essence

If you find yourself short on time, salads can offer a great way to get you in and out of the kitchen in no time.  It’s now easier than ever to prepare tasty salads at home with the help of convenient offerings in the produce department at your local grocery store.  Salads can easily be prepared using pre-washed salad greens in various varieties and pre-cut items such as carrots, celery, or even jicama sticks.  Additional ingredients that are always helpful to have on hand are pre-shredded cheeses, dried fruit such as cranberries, apricots, or raisins, and packaged nuts such as slivered toasted almonds or walnuts.  Adding meat to your salad can be a snap.  Pre-grilled chicken strips in the package or imitation crab meat are simple ways of getting in a protein punch. 

Leftover Surprise

For a unique twist on the plain old green salad, try adding that something extra with leftovers.  Yes, I said leftovers.  Now, before anyone crinkles up their nose in disgust, think about it.  Leftover beef or chicken can be easily sliced up and portioned into zip top bags before storing after a meal thereby making it readily available to add to the top of any salad at a later time. 

We eat a lot of stir-fry meals at our home for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost, they are easy.  Who’s kidding who here…stir-fry is the original one pot meal!  They are quick, tasty and you have the opportunity of introducing a variety of veggies for plenty of color which equals plenty of nutrients.  Best of all, stir-fry meals can be very light in the calorie department which is always a plus!     And in case you were wondering, stir-fry leftovers on a salad? – Why not.  Been there, done it and it’s fabulous!

Ever hear the expression – Cook once, eat twice?  I live by those words.  Who has time to cook full meals every single day-I know I don’t.  I get out of cooking any way I can by planning all meals out at the beginning of the week.  This not only keeps my diet in check but also helps me map out strategies for precooking certain foods while the kitchen is still in an uproar and I’m still in cooking mode.

Variety is the Spice of Life

A sure fire way to lose momentum in a good eating plan is to become monotonous in your food selections.  Eating the same types of foods too often leads to boredom thereby making it more likely that we will abandon our healthy intentions.  Be open to trying out new foods.  Experiment with different or unusual spices that add new flavors as well as textures to your meals.  Remember that a good diet is one that can be followed for many years to come in order to maintain a desirable body weight and optimal health.  Eating is one of life’s pleasures and who wants to eat the same boring things over and over for the rest of their life?

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