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21 May 2004

Healthy meals in a hurry

The temptation of stopping at the takeaway drive-through counter on the way home is huge. But if this is done on a regular basis, it will not only damage your bank balance, but your health as well.

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You work all day and have a busy life looking after your family. The temptation of stopping at the takeaway drive-through counter on the way home is huge. But if this is done on a regular basis, it will not only damage your bank balance, but your health as well.

Apart from anything else, takeaway foods have a very high fat content and are often quite low on nutritional value. So what can you do if you are on the run and the family is hungry? Quite a lot actually.

Ten ideas on quick and healthy meals

Keep frozen pizza bases in the freezer. Top them with onions, red or green peppers, fresh tomatoes or mushrooms. Go slow on the cheese.

A baked potato only takes a few minutes in the microwave. Tuna (tinned in water), cooked courgettes, a bit of cottage or grated cheese or tinned tomato and onion mix can spice it up. Remember that low fat yoghurt makes a good substitute for mayonnaise.

Add tuna or a few chopped pieces of ham to a prepared pasta salad.

Put frozen vegetables under the griller for about 15 minutes all-in-all. Sprinkle a bit of balsamic vinegar and a touch of olive oil on the vegetables before putting them in the oven.

Frozen vegetables make a lovely accompaniment to oven-roasted chicken. While this dish takes about an hour to cook, it only takes about two minutes to put into the oven.

Get into a habit of cooking a larger quantity of food than you need. Freeze half of it and microwave frozen meals when you have no time to spend on food preparation. Vegetable soups freeze particularly well and are also healthy.

Fresh chopped vegetables, like onions or peppers make a lovely accompaniment to quick-cooking rice.

Fresh fruit, like bananas and apples, are quite filling and easy to grab on the run and infinitely preferable to chocolates or chips.

Keep boiled eggs in the fridge. A small amount of low-fat mayonnaise can be added to make egg sandwiches in a minute.

Fish fingers can be cooked in the microwave without having any oil added to them. This takes about three minutes.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24)

 
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