Make eating healthy easier (and more enjoyable) with these recipes

Alex Lento

By Alex Lento, ’10, LifeStyle Section Editor, and Jessup Smith, ’10, LifeStyle Editor

Since we’ve already told you about the importance of sleep, we thought we’d help you out with another essential: eating healthy. When you’ve gotten the eight to 10 hours of sleep suggested, it’s time to wake up and start your day right with a healthy, delicious, and most importantly of all, easy-to-prepare breakfast. However, breakfast isn’t the only meal that plays a vital role in your day so we’ve included a day’s worth of healthy and quick meals so you don’t have to sacrifice nutrition for convenience. We have personally made all of these meals and come up with our own, original directions using healthier ingredients.

Note: There may tend to be an Italian inclination in our recipes. If that doesn’t agree with you, there are tons of healthy quick recipes that also taste great!

Breakfast: Egg sandwich

You will need:

1 Egg

About ¼ cup of egg whites (we suggest Egg Beaters brand)

1 Sandwich Thin (or any other brand of whole wheat sandwich bread)

Reduced-fat  shredded cheese (any kind works; cheddar, provolone, Munster…)

Brummel & Brown Yogurt Butter (or any other butter substitute)

Olive oil cooking spray

Directions:

Start by placing your sandwich thin or whatever bread you’re using into the toaster. Next, spray a small frying pan with cooking spray. Then, place it on the stove and turn it on low heat. Get a bowl and crack one egg into it. Add the same amount of egg whites to the bowl, and mix it up. Pour the mixture into the frying pan* and turn the heat up to medium. Let the eggs cook, occasionally stirring them. When they look to be about done, turn the heat to low and sprinkle on the desired amount of shredded cheese. At this time, your bread should be done toasting. Spread some of the butter substitute on the bread. Now, when the cheese on the eggs is melted, take them out of the pan and put them on the bread to make a sandwich.

*For even faster cooking, put the mixture of the egg and egg white into the microwave for 45 seconds. Then take it out, stir it, add cheese, and put it back in for 25-30 more seconds.

Why it’s healthy: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It jump-starts your metabolism and gives you the energy you need to do well in school. Eggs are high in protein (which is especially great for vegetarians) and in Vitamin D. However, the yoke of the egg is also high in cholesterol so it’s best to only eat one and use egg whites to supplement. The whole wheat bread is high in fiber and contains more protein than white bread. Using reduced fat cheese and a butter substitute will help lower the amount of saturated fat in your diet, which is always good!

LunchPanini with one side

You will need:

1 or 2 slices of turkey (I like Columbus brand, sold at Trader Joe’s; it is 99% fat free and made with fewer chemicals)

1 slice of reduced fat cheese (any kind works, but I recommend provolone or mozzarella)

Optional toppings:

1 Tablespoon of a basil or pesto spread

1 tablespoon of hummus

2 slices of tomato

3 leaves of lettuce

1 teaspoon of olive slices

2 slices of whole wheat bread (thicker than normal sandwich bread)

Olive oil cooking spray (optional)

Directions:

First, you prepare the sandwich. Put the turkey, cheese, and toppings on the bread. If you have a Panini grill, simply place the sandwich inside and wait for the bread to toast and the cheese to melt. If you don’t have a Panini grill, use a medium sized frying pan. Spray it with olive oil cooking spray and put the pan on low heat. Next, place the sandwich in the pan. Flip it and wait for the bread to toast and the cheese to melt. When it’s done, put it on a plate, cut it, and serve! Listed below are healthy choices for side options:

Carrots with hummus

Baked chips (most brands make a “baked” version now)

Apple or any other fruit

DinnerPasta with Broccoli

You will need:

1 pound of Ronzoni Smart Taste penne pasta

1 can of chicken broth (Fat free)

2 heads of broccoli

Grated cheese (Romano)

Olive oil

Garlic (1 clove)

Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs (2 tablespoons)

Brummel & Brown Yogurt Butter (Or any other butter substitute) (2 tablespoons)

Directions:

NOTE: this is all to be done pretty much simultaneously.

PASTA: Get a large pot and fill it about 70% of the way up with water. Put it on high, and salt the water. When it comes to a boil, pour the pasta in and stir every few minutes. It should take about 10-12 minutes after you put the pasta in for it to be done, but always taste test it first.

WHITE SAUCE: Get a large frying pan, and cover it with a thin layer of olive oil (about ¼ of an inch or less). Put it on low heat. Then, take the skin off of 2 cloves of garlic and chop them into small pieces. Place them into the pan with the warmed olive oil. Keep the garlic pieces moving until they brown.

BROCCOLI: Cut off the bottom part (the stalk) and cut each head into at least four pieces. Get a large microwavable dish that has a cover and put broccoli into it. Put in about 4 tablespoons of water and some salt. Put the broccoli in the microwave for 10 minutes. Be careful, it will be very hot when it’s done. (You can also steam the broccoli, but it is way more time consuming doesn’t taste any different).

After you’ve put the broccoli in to steam in the microwave, pour your can of chicken broth (or more, depending on how much pasta you used) into the frying pan with the olive oil and the garlic. When the broccoli is done, put it in the pan and cut it up more, to the size that you would want to eat. Let it sit on low for a few minutes. Then sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of bread crumbs into the frying pan.

At this point, the pasta should be done. Strain it. Put it in a big serving bowl and then pour the contents of the frying pan into the large bowl with the pasta. Add the two tablespoons of butter substitute. Mix it up some, and serve.

Why it’s healthy: Broccoli is an extremely important vegetable. According to Health-Food Guide website, “Broccoli is found to prevent hormone related cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer. Additionally, the health benefits of broccoli have been linked to preventing and controlling the following medical concerns: Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, calcium deficiencies, stomach and colon cancer, malignant tumors, lung cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and even the aging process.” It is fiber-rich and can lower your cholesterol. It is also full of Vitamin C, which can help stave off the common cold. Using the vitamin-enriched pasta (Smart Taste) and lower fat butter (Brummel & Brown Yogurt Butter) also contribute to the healthiness of this meal. Not to mention, cooking with olive oil increases the amount of “good fat” (monounsaturated fat) in your diet.

Broccoli photo courtesy of thenewwellness.com.  Egg sandwich photo courtesy of Alex Lento.