How to Make Speedy Low-Sugar Dinners

One difficulty that people often express when kicking the sugar habit is finding the time to cook healthy meals. When you work long days and the kids have activities, you don’t have much time left for cooking. Here are some tips for cutting down your time in the kitchen:

  • Build a repertoire of dependable recipes.

  • Plan your menus several days ahead.

  • Do the prep for several meals at once.

  • Read through the recipe first.

  • Enjoy the process.

  • Find some organic, low-sugar bottled sauces.

Honey Dijon Salmon

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15–20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons maltitol syrup

1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Four 4–5 ounce wild-caught salmon filets

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Whisk together the mustard, maltitol, and vinegar in a small bowl.

  3. Place the filets in a baking dish and brush them with the mustard mixture. Coat thoroughly.

  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets. Salmon is done when the flesh is whitish pink and flakes with a fork.

  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: Calories 262 (From Fat 135); Fat 15g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 81mg; Sodium 426mg; Carbohydrate 6g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 28g.

Coconut Lime Shrimp

Preparation time: 8 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1 cup basmati rice or quinoa

1 lime

1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

Sea salt

2 teaspoons olive oil

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped mint

4 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts

  1. Boil water and cook the rice or quinoa according to the package instructions.

  2. Zest a small amount of lime on a cheese grater.

  3. In a bowl, add the shrimp, lime zest, and a pinch of salt. Squeeze in the lime juice and let marinate for 15 minutes.

  4. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the shrimp 1 to 2 minutes. Remove them from the skillet and set aside.

  5. In the same skillet, combine the coconut milk, cilantro, mint, scallions, and peanuts. Cook 1 minute.

  6. Stir in the shrimp and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly.

  7. Serve the shrimp and sauce on a bed of rice or quinoa.

Per serving: Calories 401 (From Fat 148); Fat 16g (Saturated 10g); Cholesterol 143mg; Sodium 352mg; Carbohydrate 44g (Dietary Fiber 2.5g); Protein 21g.

Chipotle Turkey Medallions

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1 pound boneless, skinless turkey breasts

1 tablespoon local honey or maltitol syrup

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper

Pinch of salt

2 cups cubed potatoes

No-stick spray

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

Sprinkle of ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Cut the turkey breasts into eight medallions, each 2 inches in diameter. Pound them with a meat mallet until they’re 1/4 inch thick. If the breast is very thick, you may need to butterfly pound it thin.

  3. In a small saucepan, warm the honey or maltitol on medium-low heat, taking care not to boil it. Add butter and stir.

  4. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chipotle seasoning and a pinch of salt.

  5. Spread the potato medley on a large baking sheet greased with no-stick spray. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast for approximately 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

  6. While the potatoes are roasting, coat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat. Sauté the turkey medallions 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden-brown.

  7. Add the honey chipotle sauce to the pan with the turkey medallions and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thick.

  8. Place 2 medallions on each dinner plate and top with about a tablespoon of chipotle sauce. Serve with 1/2 cup of roasted potato medley drizzled with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Per serving: Calories 360 (From Fat 153); Fat 17g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 96mg; Sodium 182mg; Carbohydrate 15g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 35g.

Vegetarian Pasta Pomodoro

Preparation time: 8 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Pomodoro Sauce (see the following recipe)

Sea salt

5–6 cups water

1 small zucchini

1 small yellow squash

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms of your choice

8 ounces brown rice spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Prepare the Pomodoro Sauce.

  2. Boil 5 to 6 cups of salted water in a large saucepan. While the water is heating, wash and chop the zucchini, squash, and mushrooms.

  3. Add the rice pasta to the boiling water and cook approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. While the pasta cooks, sauté the zucchini, squash, and mushrooms in a small saucepan with olive oil.

  5. When the pasta reaches desired doneness, drain it and serve it topped with vegetables and Pomodoro Sauce.

Pomodoro Sauce

1 carrot

1 celery stalk

1 clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

15-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1/2 cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

  1. Dice the carrot and celery, and mince the garlic.

  2. Lightly coat a medium sauté pan with olive oil, and sauté the carrot, celery, and garlic over medium heat until golden. Add salt.

  3. Add the diced tomatoes, olive oil, bay leaf, and vegetable broth. Stir in the tomato paste.

  4. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not boil!

  5. Before serving, remove the bay leaf. Sprinkle with basil and oregano when serving.

Per serving: Calories 228 (From Fat 101); Fat 11g (Saturated 2.5g); Cholesterol 19mg; Sodium 1,383mg; Carbohydrate 28g (Dietary Fiber 4.5g); Protein 7g.

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