In our home, a diet is an overall ongoing balance of nutrition, not a crash attempt to lose weight quickly. So while we enjoy cheeseburgers, pies and Southern diner fare regularly, we relish healthy and wholesome meals just as much and more often.
This particular meal—baked salmon with avocado salsa, black beans and steamed broccoli—is a plate full of flavor but not calories. It’s pescatarian friendly, gluten free and quite easy to assemble without much fuss, even if we want to throw a quick dinner together in about 30 minutes on a weeknight.
Everything on the plate is full of vitamins and rich in nutrients that are helpful for our bodies. Here’s a look at each section of the meal.
We always have salmon on hand in our kitchen because we eat it at least once a week. There are infinite ways to prepare it, everything from a cracker-crumble topping to the way it’s made here, just a coating of a little olive oil. About 15 to 20 minutes on 400 in a foil packet in the oven gets it done for us, cooked completely when the white starts to cook to the surface, and not yet dry. Salmon is a source of healthy omega-3 fats, and a 4-ounce piece only contains about 110 calories. The common thought is that salmon can be expensive, and it can, but stores like our Aldi location often have specials where you can get filets for less than a dollar each.
Peel, de-pit and cube an avocado. Mix it with about a quarter of a medium onion of your choice, a splash or two of lime juice and a sprinkle of fresh-cracked black pepper. (A little tomato also makes a great addition.) Toss all that together gently to not completely mush the avocado. Divide and top your cooked salmon. Like salmon, avocado is full of healthy fats, and a half an avocado is only about 125 calories. There’s been much made about the cost of avocados, but we seem to find them on special for less than 50 cents each when we shop at our Aldi location. When that’s the case, we grab a couple at a time, usually one that’s more ripe and one that’s not as ripe to save for a few days down the road.
We alternate between black beans and refried beans (basically mashed pintos) for our Mexican food dinners, but we also love pairing black beans with other meals like salmon. Black beans are particularly full of fiber, and you can eat half a cup for just 110 calories. We have rinsed, sorted, soaked and all-day slow-cooked black beans, but there are also some great ready-made options out there that make the process much easier.
Broccoli is a much more versatile vegetable than it gets credit for, so we eat it often. We like it raw in summer salads or on veggie plates, but we also love it steamed with Asian-inspired dishes, in stir-fry meals or simply as an option along with a meat and another side. Full of fiber, a cup of broccoli only contains about 30 calories. If you don’t like it plain like I do, a slight sprinkle of salt can make a big difference without adding too much to ruin the health benefits. You can cut it fresh and steam it yourself, or try a steam-fresh bag from the freezer. We usually keep a few on hand to be ready to go!
All of those ingredients make a complete, nutritious meal for only about 375 calories! This is a great option if you had a potluck lunch at work and want to balance it with a healthier dinner, or if you’ve been pigging out during a holiday season or other celebration-filled week and need to get back to better eating.
We don’t have to completely eliminate all the foods we love. We just need balance, and combinations like this one do the trick!
Do you have a super simple and super healthy meal that’s your go-to when you need to get your diet back and track? Have a question about this #FoodieScore favorite? Tell us in the comments!