Achieve Good Nutrition – With Pizza, Lasagna, and Casseroles
Want a dinner that's balanced and nutritious? Think about lasagna, or perhaps pizza. Casseroles are also an easy dinner to prepare, and can be loaded with the variety you need in your daily diet.
I'm not talking about the pizza you buy at the local restaurant, by the way. That's typically dripping in fat, and often made with "artificial" cheese. I'm talking about the kind you make at home, using ingredients you know are good for you and your family.
These tasty meals contain all the basic food groups: meat, vegetables, dairy, and grains. They also have all you need to keep your metabolism running smoothly: protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
They can be more or less healthy hanging upon the ingredients you choose.
For instance, lean meats. While ground beef – hamburger – is usually a staple in pizza or lasagna, if you choose extra-lean and then drain off any fat, you will not get an excess of fats. I read a recommendation once of browning the crumbled beef and then washing it under hot water, but I personally would never go that far.
If you have leftover beef or pork or chicken, why not shred it and add it in place of, or in addition to, the ground beef?
Pizza and lasagna generally have tomato sauce base – a good start towards your vegetables. But what else do you add? Mushrooms, olives, and onions come to mind, but some folks add fresh tomatoes, and even broccoli. Your personal taste is really the only guide to follow here. And then there's the cheese, a dairy food. Low fat mozarella tastes great, but you can add other favorites as well.
If you're taking care to eat whole grains, your lasagna noodles and your pizza crust can be made with whole wheat.
What about casseroles? Even if you're not yet an accomplished cook, you can create a balanced meal that will taste good and be good for you.
Start with a carbohydrate base: potatoes, macaroni, or rice. Next, choose the meat you'll add. This can be a can of tuna, browned ground beef (or pork, or turkey, or chicken), or you can use those leftovers that would otherwise turn green in the refrigerator.
If you have leftover roast or steak or perhaps a chicken breast, cut it up into bite sized chunks.
Next, the vegetables. They can be fresh, canned, or frozen. Choose the ones you like the most, but do try to include some dark green or dark yellow / orange to give yourself the most nutritive value. Carrots, peas, and broccoli are always good in a casserole.
Finally, you need something to hold it all together and make it a bit creamy. Cheese and milk are good, and so are condensed canned soups, thinned with a bit of milk or water. Mushroom, celery, asparagus, cream of chicken, and cheese are a few that work very well in casseroles.
One benefit of casseroles is that you can balance the amount of protein and carbohydrates to suit your diet requirements. If you're taking it easy on carbs, use less – but if you're getting ready to engage is some extreme physical activity, you can use more.
Another benefit for busy people is that you can make enough for 2 or 3 meals and freeze what you do not use today. Instead of eating a nutrition-deficient TV dinner, you can enjoy your own healthy, home cooked casserole.