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Family Meal Plans for Weight Loss & Health

written by: Donna Clarke • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 11/5/2010

With hectic schedules, nutritious meals are often not a priority. Time constraints, family budgets, and convenience get in the way. With a few staple items, your family can enjoy delicious heart healthy and weight loss family meal plans in minutes. Let's examine how to accomplish this feat.

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    Eating Healthy Everyday

    With our busy schedules, it seems impossible to eat smart. Fast foods, and prepackaged meals seem the perfect option for our extremely hectic lifestyles. Yet, family meal plans for weight loss and health don't have to be an arduous task.

    The key to the successful heart healthy and weight loss family meal plans is in the planning. Let's examine some convenient and healthy foods.

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    Heart Healthy Kitchen Basics

    When planning family meals, it is a great idea to have some heart healthy staple items in your kitchen. This saves time and energy. Keeping meal planning as simple as possible is the key to your family's nutrition success.

    These staple items include:

    • tofu
    • garlic
    • almonds
    • fish - salmon, tuna
    • olive oil
    • brown rice
    • green leafy lettuce
    • cucumbers
    • grapefruit

    Stocking the fridge and pantry with super foods is also important.

    Super foods include:

    • broccoli
    • cauliflower
    • salmon
    • quinoa
    • eggs
    • yogurt
    • beans - specifically black beans
    • sweet potatoes

    It is important to note that many staple items are also super foods. This is because these super foods are filled with nutritional benefits. Using these basic food items as your main ingredients, it is simple to make delicious, nutritious, heart healthy meals, all in under thirty minutes. For more information on healthy eating, please read "Healthy Snack Ideas for Children."

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    Glazed Salmon Steaks with Spicy Sweet Potatoes

    Glazed Salmon Steaks: Ingredients:

    • 4 salmon steaks
    • 1/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup juice from one can chopped pineapple
    • non stick cooking spray

    Spicy Sweet Potatoes: Ingredients

    • 4 sweet potatoes
    • reduced fat margarine
    • 1 can drained, chopped pineapple
    • pinch nutmeg

    Glazed Salmon: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the maple syrup and pineapple juice in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Rinse and pat dry salmon steaks. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Drench salmon steaks in liquid. Hold steaks over a bowl until they no longer drip, and then place in pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops with some of the remaining liquid. Bake for approximately twenty minutes, or until the center of salmon is cooked through.

    Spicy Sweet Potatoes: Wash and dry sweet potatoes thoroughly. Pierce with a fork several times. Bake in standard oven or microwave until tender. Once cooked, split down the center of potato. Carefully scoop out the inside of the potatoes and place contents in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon reduced fat margarine. Add the pineapple, one tablespoon at a time, until desired flavor and consistency is reached. Spoon mixture into sweet potato shells.

    Serve Glazed Salmon Steaks with Spicy Sweet Potatoes accented a side salad of green leafy lettuce and sliced cucumbers. Serves four.

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    Grilled Vegetables with Tofu and Quinoa

    Ingredients:

    • 1 pkg quinoa
    • 1 bunch broccoli, sliced into florets
    • 1 bunch cauliflower, sliced into florets
    • 1 package baby carrots, halved
    • 3 zucchini, sliced
    • 1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
    • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
    • 4 mushrooms sliced
    • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
    • 3 tablespoons honey
    • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
    • 3/4 tablespoon cornstarch

    Cook quinoa according to package instructions. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add scallions, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until they are bright in color. Add zucchini, mushrooms, and tofu. Continue stirring carefully so the tofu does not crumble. In a separate bowl combine last four ingredients, and mix well. Pour over the vegetable mixture and stir until it reaches the desired thickness. Serve over quinoa. This recipe serves four.

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    Stock up on Super Foods

    By keeping your pantry and fridge full of super foods, heart healthy and weight loss family meal plans are only a few minutes away. Why not try one of these easy and tasty recipes today? For more information on healthy meals, please read "No & Low Carb Grocery Lists."

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    References

    WebMD: Healthy Eating and Diet - www.webmd.com/diet/guide

    Ornish, Dean. Eat More, Weigh Less. 1994