Healthy Fast Food–easy as one, two, three

You asked for it.  You got !  Everyone is always wanting to know the alternatives to driving through the fast food lane–how to eat healthy without a lot of work or money.  So, I have decided to find, try out, and blog a “healthy fast food” recipe or meal idea from time to time that meets the following criteria:

  1. Has to be EASY!
  2. Doesn’t take a lot of time.
  3. Not expensive.
  4. Tasty and delicious.
  5. Good for you (loosely defined on purpose)
  6. When possible, it includes ingredients that can be found locally and are seasonal.

By the way, if you have any suggestions for me, please pass them along.

Meal Idea #1

  1.  Bake a sweet potato (in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour or microwave)
  2. Cut open and sprinkle with cheese of your choice.
  3. Make a quick salad (greens, with vegetables of your choice or, my favorite—apples, walnuts, and blue cheese)

Enjoy! This is a quick week night meal that I enjoy on a regular basis in the winter. I was smart enough to buy a box of sweet potatoes at the local farmers market at the end of the season that will get me through a good part of the winter.  Also, sweet potatoes are on the “superfoods” list in terms of their nutritional value!

Notes:  If you want a heartier meal you can heat up some beans and put black beans on top of the sweet potato with cheese and salsa. This makes a kind of healthy nacho sweet potato dish. For the salad, it’s really easy to just add balsamic vinegar and oil along with some herbs of your choosing, salt, and pepper.

Notes From Martha (a fellow locavore and healthy food advocate):  Starting with the sweet potato idea, this is one I use a lot. I just bake the sweet potatoes. I either just use them that way, or else remove them from their skins and mash them, usually with just salt and pepper, sometimes with a tiny pat of butter, or sometimes with a little pureed chipotle pepper or some hot pepper flakes if I want a little heat. For topping, I love simply sauteed spinach. I just wash it, then heat a little olive oil in a skillet, toss in a minced clove of garlic and maybe some hot pepper flakes (if I didn’t use any on the sweet potatoes), then toss in the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and saute just a couple of minutes until it is wilted. Then I pile it on either the baked or mashed sweet potato. It is gorgeous, nutritious, and delicious. And inexpensive, and takes so little time and effort to prepare. If a person wanted more protein, she could toss some chickpeas or other beans in with the spinach while sauteeing, just to heat them up a little. And as you already suggested, many other toppings are possible.