3 Easy Throw-Together Low-Glycemic Meals

Whether you are a solid home cook or you've never boiled water, it's always helpful to have a few sample throw-together meals handy. Preparing and cooking healthy meals at home isn't necessarily time consuming.

Many home-cooked meals take less time than it takes to go through the drive-through or make a boxed mix like Hamburger Helper. These things are simply a little more convenient because you don't have to think too much. It's all right there. However, if you begin to have very simple go-to meals that you're comfortable fixing, you can make the shift to a new comfort zone.

Keep your fancy cookbooks on the shelves, and instead look for simple two- to four-step recipes and easy ways to cook whole foods so cooking in your kitchen can save you more time than driving over to a fast food restaurant.

The following ideas are not full recipes per se. The idea is to take a basic way of cooking, say grilling or steaming, and using a few steps to make a full meal. Try them as described, or add your own variations. The main point is to find ways to make cooking a meal at home as simple as buying take-out or making a boxed mix.

Steamed lemon salmon with roasted asparagus

Put a little olive oil (a couple of teaspoons), white wine (around 1/4 cup) and a squeeze of lemon juice in a pan. Place 8 ounces of fish in the liquid and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with a lid and cook slowly on medium-low heat until the fish flakes easily but isn't dry.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Lay about 4 ounces of trimmed asparagus on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt and olive oil. Roast until tender, about 5 minutes. Serve with sourdough bread if you don't have time to cook a whole-grain side dish.

This meal takes about 5 minutes of preparation and 10 minutes of cooking, actually less time than a packaged meal like Hamburger Helper. This meal serves two, but you can use the same instructions and increase the amount if you want to make more.

Crockpot chicken tacos

In a crockpot, add 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about a cup of low-sodium chicken broth, and your favorite taco spices, such as chili powder (1/2 teaspoon), cumin (2 teaspoons), salt (1 teaspoon), and pepper (1/2 teaspoon). Adjust seasonings to taste. Cook on high heat for 4 hours. Shred chicken in crockpot and serve with favorite taco fixings.

Grilled shrimp and veggies

Toss some deveined uncooked shrimp in a bowl with some lime juice and a drizzle of olive oil; add salt and pepper to taste. In another bowl, chop up some red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, and yellow squash into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Toss with a small drizzle of olive oil (a couple of teaspoons will do the trick) and salt to taste.

Skewer the shrimp and veggies and place them on the grill (can use grill tray as well) and cook on medium-high heat, turning frequently until cooked through. This meal takes about 5 to 8 minutes to cook. If you have time, make up some herbed quinoa or your favorite whole grain. You can also throw the shrimp onto a large green leafy salad.

Don't be afraid to experiment. That's what cooking is all about.

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