Quick and Healthy…AND Cheap!

So, when I’m skipping around the internet for recipes, or fussing in my kitchen trying to come up with something tasty, there are a few prerequisites. It has to be healthy, of course…and even though that’s open to wide interpretation, by “healthy” I mean generally 6 or less whole food ingredients, and something that nourishes and strengthens your body in the long term, not just over the next three hours. And, for this particular blog, it needs to be quick; I look for stuff that can at least be prepared ahead of time, so when you’re ready to walk out the door, you have something in your belly that constitutes more than a cup of coffee or a handful of potato chips.

But there’s a third, sort of bonus prerequisite that sometimes factors in, and that is cost. High quality organic ingredients can be a little more expensive, so when I find something that isn’t, I get pretty excited. Of course, this week’s post isn’t about any sort of miracle food; in fact, it’s been a staple in a lot of households for a long time. But it’s one of those meals that can be prepared at the beginning of the week for dinner and end up feeding you happily for the next three days. How’s that for bang for your buck?

What I’m talking about are beans and rice, with just enough pizazz to keep you from yawning yourself to sleep over your dinner (or lunch or…) A little spin on the classic old favorite, that will fill you up and last forever. And this recipe uses black beans, which rock a high protein and fiber content, which helps move food through your digestive tract quickly and efficiently. Plus, black beans help regulate blood sugar, which helps with cravings.

A few other happy bonuses: the soluble fiber in black beans helps lower cholesterol, which leads to a lower risk of heart disease and heart attacks; they also contain flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants. There’s also a healthy dose of vitamin B6, or folate, which helps support nervous system health.

Here’s another little tip as you’re navigating the potential wilderness of healthy eating: write a list of 10 quick healthy meals, and post it on your fridge. Try to keep the ingredients for at least 5 of those in your kitchen as often as possible. Then, when you get home late, or when mealtimes sneak up on you, you will be more likely and more prepared to have a healthy meal rather than, say, order a large pizza. It helps.

One last point: you don’t have to stick to this ingredient list…you can throw whatever you like in, or, more appropriately, whatever you have on hand.

Healthy Black Beans and Rice

1/4 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 carrot, diced
1 T. olive or coconut oil
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 can prganic black beans
1/2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. chili powder
1/4 t. paprika
2 c. cooked brown rice (you can substitute any grain, really)

–Heat the oil in a medium skillet and add the onion and garlic.
–Over the next few minutes, add the carrot, peppers, and finally the beans, heating through.
–Add to rice/grains and serve.
–You can get creative, really, adding whatever condiments you like such as soy sauce, tamari, or tahini to taste.

*Recipe courtesy of keepyourdietreal.com