(Family Features) Quick and easy meals can be hard to come by, especially ones that don’t sacrifice flavor. You don’t have to eat bland foods to provide your family a healthy and hearty, nutrient-filled diet. During National Nutrition Month, it’s the perfect time to refresh your routine with some creative and convenient options that can serve as the starting point for an on-the-go snack or a full-blown meal.
Sandwiches, like this recipe for a BALCMT Sandwich, can be one of the easiest ways to incorporate grains, which deliver shortfall nutrients like dietary fiber, iron and folate into your diet. Research from the Grain Foods Foundation shows about 95 percent of Americans do not meet dietary fiber intake recommendations. Whole grain foods, like bread, buns, rolls, pita and tortillas, can help supply your dietary fiber needs and aid in maintaining a healthy weight and lower cholesterol.
Additionally, enriched grains can play a key role in metabolism by helping the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates, and are also essential for a healthy nervous system, productivity and cognitive development. The vitamins and minerals in enriched grains like folic acid are also critical for reducing the incidence of some birth defects while also promoting cell function and tissue growth.
Some healthier ways to build a snack include using leaner meats and lower sodium cheeses for a sandwich or adding more vegetables to your overall snacking habits. Another nutritious option, Baked Pita Crisps accompanied by Southwest Bean Dip, can help you curb hunger without blowing past your daily calorie count.
Find more recipes and tips for quick and flavorful meals at grainfoodsfoundation.org.
Recipe courtesy of Franz Bakery on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 tablespoon adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- salt, to taste
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 slices bread, toasted
- 1-2 leaves lettuce
- 4 slices tomato
- 1/2 avocado, thickly sliced
- 4 slices maple bacon, fried
- To make Chipotle-Mayonnaise Sauce: In small bowl, mix mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lime juice. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- Add layer of sauce to slice of bread and top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon and second slice of bread.
Baked Pita Crisps
Recipe courtesy of the Grain Foods Foundation
Prep time: 30 minutes
Yields: 24 crisps
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 3 pita breads (6 inches each) with pockets
- kosher salt, to taste
Southwest Bean Dip:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup packed fresh coriander sprigs, washed and spun dry
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons water, plus additional (optional)
- To make Crisps: Heat oven to 400° F. In small bowl, mix olive oil with cumin and paprika. Split each pita bread horizontally into two rounds and brush rough sides with equal amounts of oil mixture. Cut rounds into small triangles and arrange in flat layer on large baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt just out of oven.
- To make Southwest Bean Dip: In large skillet over high heat, heat vegetable oil until hot. Add garlic, bell pepper and onion; turn heat to low and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and cayenne; cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- In food processor, blend beans, lime juice, coriander, salt and water until smooth, adding more water, if necessary, to achieve desired consistency. Add vegetable mixture and pulse until just combined. Serve with Baked Pita Crisps.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Grain Foods Foundation