Eating healthy can be an exciting taste adventure that your family looks forward to each day. In fact, some of the healthiest foods available are also some of the tastiest foods you can find. Learning to use fresh herbs like cilantro, garlic, ginger, and mint can elevate simple, healthy fare into dishes that your family asks for. These five meals are quick and easy to prepare but offer health benefits that are hard to beat.
Garlic Chicken with Parsnip Potato Mash
Garlic is a powerful antioxidant that has been rumored to have the same antibiotic power as a standard dose of penicillin. While garlic can't replace a prescription antibiotic, this herb can help boost the immune system to fight off the common cold and flu during the winter. Don't be afraid of the number of garlic cloves used in the recipe. The garlic flavor mellows and becomes mild because of the longer cooking time required with this recipe. You will need:
20-25 cloves of fresh garlic
Whole, organic chicken
Rosemary, thyme, or your favorite herb combination
4 medium potatoes
2-3 medium parsnips
To make this recipe, sauté the peeled, whole garlic in a small amount of olive oil, then add the whole chicken, garlic, and herbs to your slow cooker. Cook on high until the chicken to done, or until the juices run clear. Shed the chicken of the bones, and discard the bones. Place the chicken back in the garlic, mashing the cloves to make a delicious gravy substitute. Cook peeled, cubed potatoes and sliced parsnips until the potatoes are tender, then mash together as you would for regular mashed potatoes. Serve the chicken and broth over the potato and parsnip. You can use any vegetables you like in the potato mash, or you can serve the chicken over brown rice or whole wheat pasta rather than potatoes.
Using whole grain pita bread, top with fresh tomatoes, herbs, onions, organic or vegan cheese, and your choice of fresh vegetables. Using fresh, organic ingredients turns standard pizza into a healthy alternative to frozen and take-out pizzas. This recipe works best if you toast the pita bread lightly before topping with fresh ingredients. After adding your favorite topping, cook the pizzas at 325 degrees for about ten minutes on a metal baking sheet, or until the cheese has melted and the pizza is hot. Served with a fresh spinach salad, this easy recipe will become a family favorite.
Nothing is sweeter than fresh fruit from your local farmers market. Mix berries for a dose of immune system boosting antioxidants, or try papaya, guava, and mango for a tropical mix. Make fresh lemonade with crushed mint leaves and freshly squeezed lemons for a refreshing summer drink to go along with dessert. Mint can also soothe an upset stomach, so a fresh mint tea is the prefect warming drink for winter.
Nowhere in the world of cuisine is there more room for creative touches than in a bowl of soup. Fresh vegetables like squash, shredded zucchini and eggplant add vitamins and texture to soup while herbs and fresh tomatoes create flavor your family will love. Use chicken or vegetable broth to add flavor, but choose a low sodium variety to keep the flavor without adding too much salt. For a protein boost, add dried lentils that have been cooked beforehand. Let your family choose which vegetables to add to ensure kids are willing to eat the soup.
Heart Healthy Sides
Skip the mac and cheese and head for the vegetables to make a side dish that is both healthy and flavorful. Fresh green beans steamed with a small amount of crushed garlic and sea salts are a wonderful addition to any meal. Serve your steamed green beans with lemon-baked tilapia. Tilapia is a mild fish that won't overpower kids taste buds.
Ron Thompson writes for Del-Immune V®, http://www.delimmune.com/, a unique probiotic supplement made from the lactobacillus rhamnosus which is a natural immune system booster and offers how to treat sinusitis.