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How to eat healthy even though you're tired and broke!

Dietitian Janine Whiteson, M.Sc., is a contributor to the popular "Cooking Light" cookbook series, including, "Cooking Light What to Eat," and has her own private practice in New York City, where she has established comprehensive nutriti...

Shop right, eat right

With long days at the office, busy weeknights and weekends at home with family and friends, and our ever more complex, nonstop pace, healthy eating may feel like an unattainable goal. And, with the economy squeezing us in every direction, and the allure of cheap and convenient fast food, healthy food choices may appear too expensive to consider.

Shop right, eat right

Breakfast

Dietitians will tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Top a serving of non-fat Greek yogurt with a sprinkling of crunchy, high fiber cereal like Raisin Bran® and a cup of fresh or frozen berries and you are kick starting your day with a power meal. Great for the heart, skinny on the budget!

Lunch

Place 3 to 4 ounces of rotisserie chicken (skin removed) on top of a salad tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar (great staples for your pantry), 1/2 cup chickpeas (rinsing from the can decreases the sodium), and take to work in Tupperware. This meal is portable, good for you, and takes only minutes to prepare!

Dinner

When you come home exhausted at the end of the day, dinner could be a phone call away, but stop! Don't dial! Try the black bean quesadilla recipe below. It's fun, easy to prepare, delicious and satisfying -- with no strain on the budget.

Black Bean Quesadillas with Corn Salsa

Makes 4 servings (serving size: 3 quesadilla wedges and about 1/3 cup salsa)

Ingredients:

Quesadillas

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 2 cups plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 (8 inch) flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) pre-shredded Mexican blend cheese

Salsa

  • 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

Directions:

  1. To prepare the quesadillas, preheat the broiler.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup cilantro, and beans. Cook 5 minutes, or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.
  3. Place tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Top each tortilla with 1/2 cup bean mixture and 3 tablespoons cheese. Fold tortillas in half.
  4. Lightly coat tops with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes, or until cheese melts and tortillas begin to brown. Cut each tortilla into 3 wedges.
  5. To prepare salsa, combine corn and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with quesadillas.

CALORIES 420 (31% from fat); FAT 14.4g (sat 5.5g,mono 6.4g,poly 1.3g); IRON 4.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 19mg; CALCIUM 272mg; CARBOHYDRATE 60g; SODIUM 590mg; PROTEIN 17.8g; FIBER 10.3g

"Cooking Light," MARCH 2004

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