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Healthy, Easy-to-Make Meals

by Carlye Jones

Healthy meals do not need to be complicated. In fact, less-complicated recipes with fewer ingredients are both healthy and easy to make. Stick to lean meats balanced with fresh fruits and vegetables. Add a helping of whole grains to round out a quick and simple healthy meal.

Lean Meat

Thin cuts of lean meat cook in no time and provide plenty of protein. Chicken breast, pork chops and fish are healthy choices that can be prepared easily on a grill or in the microwave. Lean cuts of beef, in limited quantities, are also healthy and a good source of iron. Season lean meats simply -- just a little olive oil, salt and pepper will do -- before cooking, or marinate the meat in an oil-based or creamy marinade for an even juicier meat dish.

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh vegetables not only add nutrients, but they are quick and simple to prepare. A chopped salad with large chunks of tomato, carrots and cucumber can be thrown together in a matter of minutes. Fresh chopped vegetables like broccoli, celery and bell peppers make a great side dish; add hummus or ranch dip to entice picky eaters. Steam green beans, baby carrots, peas or zucchini quickly on the stove or in the microwave. To save even more time, purchase prechopped and packaged vegetables from the produce section or from the salad bar.

Fresh Fruit

Like fresh vegetables, fresh fruit is an easy way to add vitamins to a meal. Serve melon slices, orange sections, apple chunks, berries or grapes for dessert without adding the processed sugar found in other after-dinner treats. For an additional treat, mix the fruit salad with a creamy dressing - blue cheese works well for sophisticated palates, while ranch pleases the kids. And unlike many traditional desserts, fruit requires no cooking or baking.

Grains

Grains add the finishing touch to a healthy meal, and several are quick and easy to make. Brown rice and quinoa only require some boiling time. Store-bought whole grain bread with a small dab of butter adds both grains and dairy with virtually no effort. Semi-pearled farro takes some time to cook, about 45 minutes, but requires only boiling and provides both fiber and protein. Whole grain pasta can be mixed with lean meats and vegetables for a simple all-in-one dish.

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