We try our best to prepare wholesome meals for our families. Yet, we can even do a better job just by learning how to make meal preparation healthier without as much effort as you may think. All that is often required to maximize meal nutrition is making a few simple additions to your recipes that can transform what you serve with ingredients that you probably have on hand in your pantry or refrigerator.
For this purpose, you may want to start just reaching for some seeds and finely chopped nuts when preparing those meals. The reason seeds and nuts are so beneficial to boost up nutrition is because you will be supplying extra protein, fiber and healthy fats besides valuable vitamins and minerals. Seeds for the most part can provide an additional five to nine more grams of that protein per ounce to foods. In fact, flaxseeds and chia seeds are the top picks for the best sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids with three times more alpha-linolenic acid than walnuts according to Harvard University.
Besides flaxseeds and chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, almonds, pecans, and cashews are also helpful that you can incorporate into salads, sauces, spreads, puddings, cereals, vegetables to dishes like cottage cheese or yogurt.
Fermented vegetables are another excellent addition to the menu, especially for important gut bacteria compared to canned because the process ensures all their nutrients and vitamins remain stable instead of reduced or depleted. Surprisingly enough, fermentation even can help raise the quality of that nutrition because of how the microorganisms reproduce.
Something as easy as putting pickles on a sandwich is one way that can pump up nutrition. If you want a delicious way to get that fermentation, you should try my refrigerated hot pickle peppers or a sweeter version with my pickled hot peppers recipe. You can use other fermented foods such as adding sauerkraut to soups, a side dish to casseroles or even a pizza such as my Bavarian pizza recipe. Yogurt is another that you can use as a substitute for sour cream in recipes, salads, sauces to baking.
Herbs and spices are incredible ingredients for how to make meal preparation healthier with all the antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties to what they can do with their glucose and cholesterol-lowering abilities to defending against tumors and cancer. In addition, they have been documented as well as having properties that affect cognition and mood according to proven research at the National Library of Medicine.
Finally, beans and legumes are marvelous for not only their protein, but plenty of fiber, folate, iron, potassium, and magnesium. At the same time, they have little to no fat, trans-fats, sodium or cholesterol. What is great about using beans or legumes in your recipes is that you can puree them for sauces, soups, dips, sandwich spreads or blending into bean patties just to give you an example.
Learning how to make meal preparation healthier may sound like slightly extra work, but the benefits are well worth it.