Quick, easy, nutritious recipes please!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by Susannah Saunders, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Susannah Saunders

    Susannah Saunders

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    Hi there,

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post, but I'm a hypnotherapist and one of my weight loss clients is struggling with the idea of cooking healthy dinners, opting instead for high calorific, ready meals. Do you have any suggestions for easy to make, nutritious meals that won't confuse a novice cook?

    Many thanks in advance,

    Susannah
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2018
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Easy. To my thinking, there's a bit of a disconnect in what people think is easy and cooking. This is because most people haven't learned the basics of cooking. They usually have a few successful and good dishes they can make for holidays, entertaining and events but don't have the skills or understanding to feed themselves daily in an appropriate way.

    It is a skill. That means some necessary equipment and time learning the necessary techniques. The most basic skills are knife skills. I'll post some links about all of this in a while. Since we changed to a new host lots of the old contents links are broken but I think you'll be able to figure things out from there.
     
  3. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    If you client's default mentality is to lose weight through high calorie, pre-packaged meals, it sounds to me like your client lacks the fundamental understanding of the role a healthy diet has when it come to weight loss. Seems to me the cart may be before the horse here.

    In any case, what sort of cooking skills does your client have? This factor alone will have the most influence in terms of what your client can cook and not cook.
     
  4. Susannah Saunders

    Susannah Saunders

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    Thank you! Yes please do post some links when you get the opportunity. This particular client has lost confidence and whilst we work therapeutically on that, I would like to offer them some practical help with cooking healthy food. Thanks for the input!
     
  5. Susannah Saunders

    Susannah Saunders

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    Thank you. Yes we are working on their misguided views of and relationship with food within the therapy, but in the meantime I'd also like to demonstrate that cooking doesn't have to be difficult. They don't think they can cook as they never have, so their skills will be very limited.
     
  6. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Ok. Take a look in your town. Chances are decent there may be a cooking co-op that provides basic cooking lessons. Often, these co-ops will offer nutrition classes as well.

    I would suggest your client starts there.


    Good Luck. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
  7. John Swift

    John Swift

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    I actually think a more needed skills would be "heat & meat" - a quote I borrowed from The Food Channel. When I first heard of it, I didn't think much of it to be honest, but the more I learned how to cook, the more I came to appreciate how important that is.
    Understanding how to control the heat with respect to the ingredients is so important and has a large affect of how the dish will turn out.

    Another bit more advance skill would be to understand how to add flavor to meat and which flavor will work best for that particular meat. Admittedly this is not a basic skill so it will take a lot more time to master.
     
  8. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    What I think @phatch is saying is basic skills such as knife skills are necessary to prevent injury and so the person can actually prepare ingredients properly. If they can't prepare the ingredients safely and properly, there's really no point in giving them a recipe.

    I once taught a cooking class for beginners where one of the students had literally never boiled water before. I could've told that person how to fry an egg or how to make pancakes, which are an incredibly simple tasks, but, she would not have been ablt to do it because she literally lacked the ability to use a spatula. Granted, she learned those skills quickly because they are rather easy. But, turning someone loose in a kitchen, even a home kitchen, who has never cooked before can be an accident looking for a place to happen.
     
  9. John Swift

    John Swift

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    John
    I guess I can say that I have more faith in humanity than that. I am assuming we are referring to human adults. I would say that would be anywhere from say 16 years old to 68 years old (after which I suppose one can get clumsy with basic motor skills).
     
  10. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    I don't think there is a professional chef on this site that would agree that giving a recipe to someone who has never cooked a single thing in their life or prepped a single ingredient, even a simple recipe, and then, turn them loose in any kitchen would be a good idea. That would be like tossing the keys to my car to my 15 year old granddaughter and telling her to go to the store 4 blocks away. Could she do it? Sure. Does her inexperience increase the risk of an accident? Yes. Would I be patently irresponsible if I actually did that? Definitely.
     
  11. John Swift

    John Swift

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    John
    I don't see how cooking can be deemed so dangerous as driving. It's like comparing driving a car to flying a rocket.
     
  12. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Wait....you're the guy who's the novice home cook that argued with the professional chefs about finishing pasta in the clam sauce. *sigh* now, I get it.

    Im done here.
     
  13. drirene

    drirene

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    Guys, I still don't see one easy recipe!

    Using any old steak knife (you have to start somewhere!) how about veggy Spinach Salad:
    A bag of fresh spinach, torn up a bit
    a thin slice or two of peeled red onion, cut up a bit
    sliced mushrooms,
    grape tomatoes
    sliced hard boiled egg (Put eggs in pot and cover with water. Turn on heat and get to a bubbling boil. Cover and turn off heat. Wait 10 min. Run eggs through cold water. Slightly crack eggs and put in ice water to cool. Peel. Don't worry if some egg white comes off with shell. Best done ahead or buy pre-cooked, shelled eggs at supermarket.)
    Dressing:
    1:4 parts fresh lemon juice or vinegar to extra virgin olive oil
    salt and pepper , a shake of oregano, a pinch of sugar, and a little garlic powder.
    Optional: Top salad with some shredded cheese like cheddar, etc. A piece of bought whole grain bread on the side.
    Dress only the salad you will eat. Cover dressing and salad tightly and store in refrigerator for tomorrow.

    Now you all can do much better than me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  14. french fries

    french fries

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    • Find some good tasting carrots (not necessarily an easy task).
    • Shred with food processor.
    • Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and sprinkle with vinegar, toss and let absorb for a few mn.
    • Taste. If necessary, adjust seasoning in salt, pepper and vinegar.
    • Add olive oil, toss and serve.

    BONUS: You can do the same with turnips, parsnips, beets, celeriac etc... or mix and match!

    TIP: Quickly rinse the food processor bowl and blade under cold water right after you're done, it's MUCH easier than if you wait for bits of food to dry out and get stuck.
     
    drirene likes this.
  15. John Swift

    John Swift

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    Seems like a nice and simple recipe. I got some nice, long and slender carrots. Something for me to do this weekend.
     
  16. mikelm

    mikelm

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    Go to a used book site and find a copy of Let's Cook It Right by Adele Davis. It is one of the very first of the "healthy" cookbooks, and we found it and raised our family on it and her other books in the series.
    Her recipes are easy, taste really great, and the book gives you a basic understanding of nutrition, cooking and kitchen techniques. a It's not a gimmic diet- just a damn good scientific apporoach in layman's language with great recipes.
    If you respond to the book, get her other ones. They all date fron the 1950's or so but have not been surpassed.
    Mike
     
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  17. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Hi S.S.,

    I could only give you recipes that build on existing skills, which then increases chances of success and reinforces positive results.

    Like any diet, modifying what the person already eats increases chances of success.
    If they never, ever eat green salads, I don't try to force that into their diet.

    If a person loves baked potatoes with sour cream, I would try to move them to a twice baked version using nonfat greek yogurt.
    Useless information if your client doesn't like potatoes or sour cream...

    For better answers,
    Give us a list of what your client does eat, especially the favorites, and people here can offer alternatives.
    Give us a list of anything your client can make, and the people here can build off of those skills.

    Look forward to hearing back on this!

    Good Luck!
     
    drirene likes this.
  18. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    What your client probably needs help with more than cooking is probably meal planning. And, an interest in eating good food. Not "good for you" food, but good food. As habit and way of life. As long as he or she is thinking about food only in terms of weight loss, meal planning and making actual meals is going to seem onerous and constricting rather than interesting and exciting. He or she is going to focus on beloved (if non-nutritious) foods they are giving up, not how meals made from fresh, healthy ingredients can be satisfying--exciting, even.

    The question needs re-framing. Your client doesn't need a few random, simple recipes. He or she needs to take an interest. Loss of weight-loss motivation is one thing. Being too depressed to take an active interest is another and perhaps should be treated.

    If money is not a big problem, and the client is near a decently sized city, there are meal kit (I think in some countries they are called recipe box) delivery services that have easy-to-follow instructions and pre-measured ingredients. Portions are controlled. They are usually quite healthy and delicious. There is no waste and there are no overwhelming grocery-shopping expeditions. I have food-loving friends with various levels of cooking skill that swear by Blue Apron. They feel that the lack of food wasted because of lack of time or planning more than makes up for the perceived expense. Some of them are learning to cook with these kits

    Learning to cook is not mysticism. It can be learned without an apprenticeship or a cooking school. People dis Mark Bittman but his "You Can Do This" attitude in the "How to Cook Everything" books should not be faulted. He is not great at teaching technique, but he is great at convincing people that getting good-tasting food on the table with a minimum of fuss is within reach.

    There are tons of healthy, easy recipe food blogs out there that he or she can find and follow. Here's a good list:

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/09/healthy-food-blogs_n_5460940.html

    Grain bowls require a bit of up-front prep to stay interesting throughout the week but they are easy. Googling "Grain Bowls" will bring up more hits than anyone could ever read but here is a basic primer:

    https://www.saveur.com/grain-bowls

    Smoothies -Fruit, yogurt or nut milk.
    Smoothie bowls (I'm not a fan, but lots of people are)
    Whole grain cereals with fruit and milk or nut milk
    Plain yogurt, slightly sweetened and with fruit and other mix ins
    Plain yogurt, strained to make labneh and flavored with olive oil, garlic, etc

    Omelets and Egg scrambles
    Whole grain avocado toast is easy and can be topped with all kinds of things

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/avocado-toast-upgrade_n_5158847.html

    Whole grain flatbreads, wraps, open-faced sandwiches:

    http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/18681/main-dishes/sandwiches/wraps-rolls/
    https://food52.com/blog/12935-the-saving-grace-that-is-the-tartine
    https://www.thekitchn.com/open-faced-10-tartine-recipes-recipe-roundup-177248

    Washing up a bunch of greens, wrapping them in a towel, putting them in a plastic bag for salads all week is easy.

    So is making a dressing and having stuff ready to add to those greens, or omelets, or flatbreads, or grain bowls--hard boiled eggs, marinated beans or vegetables or tofu, canned tuna, smoked fish, olives, chunks of feta cheese, cooked shrimp, shredded roast or poached or rotisserie chicken.

    Sturdy greens roasted or sauteed with garlic, chili flakes, sprinkled with lemon juice or vinegar and topped with an egg, eaten with whole grain toast

    Sheet pan suppers are easy
    https://www.thekitchn.com/18-sheet-pan-suppers-ready-in-30-minutes-241552

    Healthy slow cooker braises and soups are easy and there are tons of recipes out there.

    I just bought an Instant Pot, so I'm looking forward to having my weeknight dinner life changed by that.

    Food 52 and The Kitchn are two food websites that feature these kinds of healthy meal ideas all the time, several times a day.

    Finding interesting, delicious, healthy, easy meal ideas is not at all hard. Developing the interest in doing so might be. If that's due to depression, that can be treated. If it's a deep and genuine lack of curiosity, that is another issue.