Healthy Meals Can be Quick and Cheap, Too

There is a widely-held belief that, if a meal is healthy, it can't possibly be cheap. Or if it's quick, it can't be cheap. Healthful eating doesn't have to take a lot of time in the kitchen and these two great recipes will prove the point. Both are easy on the calories and the budget, too.

Tortilla Soup

1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3 1/2 cups fat-free chicken broth with no added salt
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/3 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with no added salt, not drained
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chiles
3 corn tortillas (6-inch), cut into eighths

In a medium saucepan, sauté chicken for 3 minutes. Add broth, beans, corn, tomatoes and chiles. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add tortillas and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Makes 8 cups. Serves: 4.

Each Serving: Carb Servings: 2; Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat. Calories 241, total fat 3g, saturated fat 0g, cholesterol 32mg, sodium 575mg, total carbohydrate 37g, dietary fiber 7g, sugars 9g, protein 24g.

Eggplant Parmesan

This dish is so quick to put together that it will be one that you make often for a healthy, quick meal. Serve with a side dish of whole grain pasta and a tossed salad. This recipe is also a good choice for a diabetic menu.

2 1/2 cups jarred spaghetti sauce (less than 4 g. fat per 4 oz.)
1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/2 -2 lbs.)
4 ounces grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" x 13" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/2 cup of sauce in pan. Slice eggplant 1/2" thick. Arrange half of the slices in the pan. Top with 1 cup of sauce, half of the mozzarella cheese. Then, add the remainder of the eggplant slices and the remainder of the sauce.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Top with remainder of mozzarella cheese and return to oven, uncovered, until cheese is melted. Serve with Parmesan cheese (optional). Serves: 4.

Each Serving: Carb Servings: 1 1/2; Exchanges: 1 medium-fat meat, 4 vegetable. Calories 188, total fat 5g, saturated fat 3g, cholesterol 16mg, sodium 623mg, total carbohydrate 24g, dietary fiber 3g, protein 11g.

Quick & Healthy Tip for April: Cook once and serve twice. If saving time is important to you, as it is to many, a simple tip is to double a recipe and serve leftovers for another meal. You can serve the leftovers in a couple of days or freeze them for later use. Also consider freezing in lunch size containers. This works well with lasagna, soups and casseroles. This simple tip can cut meal preparation time in half!

~Source: © Brenda J. Ponichtera, R.D. author of the Quick & Healthy Cookbooks, Source: © Brenda J. Ponichtera, R.D. author of the Quick & Healthy Cookbooks,

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