At the end of a long workday, making a meal for yourself or your family can feel daunting, so much so that picking up the phone to order takeout may seem like the easiest route. Considering that restaurant meals are almost always higher in sodium, fat, refined sugar, and grains, choosing to eat at home is the better choice for your health.
According to federal data, about a third of the calories Americans consume come from sources outside of the home. That means that a third of the food that the average American eats is higher in fat, sodium, and sugar, yet lower in the nutrients and vitamins found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other whole foods. Not only does this diet affect one’s weight, but it may increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Next time you reach for your phone to open a food-delivery app, first look inside your pantry, fridge, and freezer. You may be surprised to find that you have everything you need to whip up a nutritious meal in under 30 minutes. Read on to learn more.
Edamame: Edamame has the highest protein content of any bean and is rich in B vitamins and fiber. Steaming edamame takes under 10 minutes and is a nice complement to any meal or perfect as a snack.
Frozen Vegetables and Fruit: Because frozen produce is frozen just after being harvested, it’s often more nutritious than fresh produce that has lengthy transit times and sits on grocery store shelves.
Frozen Greens: Frozen greens like kale and spinach are oftentimes more nutritious than fresh. They cook faster, too.
Whole Grains: Quinoa, brown rice, and whole oats are rich in nutrients, protein, and fiber and can help regulate blood sugar.
Canned or Jarred Tomatoes: Cooked tomatoes contain more bioavailable lycopene than raw tomatoes do. Canned and jarred tomatoes are cooked beforehand, meaning the lycopene is more easily assimilated by the body.
Canned or Jarred Beans and Other Legumes: Rich in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and other nutrients, legumes are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. The most nutritious are lentils, black beans, white beans, and chickpeas.
Produce with the Longest Shelf Life
On the Counter: Onions, garlic, potatoes, and squash keep fresh for weeks or even up to a month. Keep them in a cool place on your counter out of direct contact with sun/light.
In the Fridge: Root vegetables, cabbage, romaine lettuce, celery, and carrots all keep for up to a month in the fridge.
30-Minute Stewed Chickpeas and Tomatoes Over Quinoa
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 large carrot
- 1 shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 can/jar cooked chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 can/jar diced tomatoes
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach
To make the quinoa, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
While the quinoa cooks, peel and dice the carrot, shallot, and garlic. Add olive oil to a deep skillet or pot. Add diced carrots, shallot, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes over medium-high heat until fragrant and translucent.
Add chickpeas, tomatoes, coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add frozen spinach and simmer uncovered for 5 additional minutes.
Transfer cooked quinoa to a shallow bowl. Serve stew on top of quinoa and garnish with fresh parsley and cracked pepper.