Your favorite foods can be more nutritious with the right preparation and cooking methods. Sometimes changing a couple ingredients – such as the type and amount of oil you use – can make a big difference in the overall nutrition of the dish. Healthy recipes can be quick, simple and affordable to make.

Summer Vegetable Spaghetti

  • 2 cups onion (small, yellow, cut into eighths)
  • 2 cups tomatoes (chopped, peeled, fresh, ripe, about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups squash (thinly sliced yellow and green, about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cup green beans (cut fresh, about 1/2 pound)
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (fresh, minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 pound spaghetti (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • black pepper (to taste)

1. Combine first 10 ingredients in large saucepan. Cook for 10 minutes, then stir in tomato paste. Cover and cook gently, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender.
2. Cook spaghetti in unsalted water according to package directions.
3. Spoon sauce over drained hot spaghetti and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top.


Fiesta Black Beans and Rice

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked (non-instant) white rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn

1. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the oil and garlic and cook until soft, about four minutes.
2. Add the rice and cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly, so as not to burn.
3. Add the water, spices, beans, corn, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
4. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Serve alone or make into burritos by wrapping filling in a flour tortilla. Serve with shredded lettuce and fresh tomatoes if you like.


Springtime Cereal

  • 3/4 cups wheat and barley nugget cereal
  • 1/4 cup bran cereal (100%)
  • 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds (toasted)
  • 2 teaspoons almonds (toasted, sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1/2 cup banana (sliced)
  • 1 cup strawberries (sliced)
  • 1 cup yogurt (raspberry or strawberry, low-fat)

1. Mix the wheat and barley nugget cereal, bran cereal, sunflower seeds, and almonds in a medium bowl.
2. Add the raisins, the bananas, and halve the strawberries.
3. Gently stir in the yogurt and divide between two bowls.
4. Scatter the remaining strawberries over the top and enjoy!


Brown Rice with Sizzling Chicken and Vegetables

  • 3 cups hot cooked brown rice
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tbsp canola or corn oil
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic,minced
  • 1 small white onion, cut into small wedges (about 1/8-inch thick)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally (1 cup total)
  • 1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  1. Mix soy sauce, water, honey, and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet.Addminced garlic; sauté about 1 minute until garlic is golden.
  3. Add chicken; cook about 5-6minutes, then push chicken to the side.
  4. Add onions to center of skillet; cook until slightly tender and push to the side.
  5. Continue with carrots, broccoli, and peppers separately, placing each in center of pan, cooking until slightly tender and pushing to the side.
  6. Pour soy saucemixture into center of skillet. Leaving other ingredients at the sides of the pan, stir sauce until it thickens.
  7. Mix in with vegetables and chicken. Serve immediately over cooked brown rice.


Carrots with Tomatoes and Macaroni

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion (small, chopped)
  • 4 plum tomatoes (chopped, from a can)
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice (from a can)
  • 6 carrot (large, peeled and sliced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked

1. In a saucepan, cook the onion in the oil until soft but not brown. Add the tomatoes, carrots, salt, pepper and sugar.
2. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and cook over low heat, stirring often, for another 5 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the tomatoes are cooked down to a sauce.
3. Stir in the parsley. Mix the butter with the cooked elbows. Stir in the carrot mixture and serve.