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Healthy Meals in 10 Minutes or Less


By Susan Male Smith, R.D.

My friend Caroline recently lamented that all too often, she finds herself wandering the supermarket aisles at day's end in desperate search of something - anything! - to serve for dinner that night. Something quick. And easy. But healthful, too, of course. After all, she isn't willing to compromise on her children's health -- or her own. Fortunately, with more and more supermarkets catering to hurried, no-time-to-cook shoppers, it's easier than ever to find dinner fixings without resorting to overly processed, sodium-laden convenience foods.

Start by visiting the sections of the supermarket that hug the perimeter of the store, advises Elizabeth M. Ward, registered dietitian and author of several nutrition books, including The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids (Alpha 2006). Processed foods are generally located in the interior aisles. The perimeter is where you'll find healthful whole foods, like produce, dairy, eggs, fish, meat and bread. Then follow these four steps to put together meals that are quick, easy and nutritious:

1. Pick Your Protein
"Pick a source of protein and work around that," says Ward, "because that's the hardest piece of the puzzle." Good places to start:

* Rotisserie chicken A deli department staple and a favorite of the swoop-in-just-before-dinner shopper, add veggies and brown rice for a complete, hot meal.
* London broil steak strips Buy a few strips of this flavorful store-cooked beef and use it to top a salad of mixed greens, peppers and tomatoes
* Fresh fish Many fish departments will steam fish for you while you wait, providing a heart-healthy centerpiece for any meal.
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Categories: Food & Recipes, MomShare, Quick Features,

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