A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Need a fast, healthy dinner option? Get out the wok and stir fry

Stir fry / low sodium / vegetables

Stir-fry dinners can be fast, healthy, and fun to make.

“Stir fry.”

Need we say more?

If you yearn for a fast, healthy recipe high in vegetables and lower in calories, get out your wok or skillet, plan some time to cut, slice, dice and cook a dish that’s tasty and healthy.

According to Marshfield Clinic Health System Dietitian Chrisanne Urban, stir-fry dinners can be a very healthy and social option.

Stir-frying is a quick-cooking method, originally a Chinese technique involving cooking at a high temperature in little or no oil. High temps cook food fast and help retain nutrients.

Stir-fry is a flexible dinner option and can range from all-veggie to dishes with good cuts of meat and tasty sauces.

Food prep takes time

The most inconvenient part of a stir-fry is food preparation since it does take time to get ingredients ready. You may opt, though, for pre-cut and packaged veggies and meat in your local grocery store.

“You’ll pay the price for convenience and sometimes that’s steep,” she said. “It’s something to think about but cooking stir fry at home is cheaper than eating at a restaurant. You have to balance it all and figure out what’s best for you, your budget and your time.”

If you want to prepare ingredients at home, Urban suggests making it social. Get family or friends involved and the more people the better. It’s a good time to gather people together for conversations over a cutting board, too.

Get this stir-fry party started

“Consider, too, having a stir fry party so everyone brings something prepared and ready to cook,” she said. “That way you can have a couple different types – veggie, chicken, beef – and besides the social aspect the biggest thing is you’re in charge of how it’s prepared.”

“You can make these dishes very healthy by controlling the amount of oil and protein,” Urban said. She herself uses olive oil, hearkening back to the Mediterranean diet. Canola oil is another good choice.

Stir-fry recipes also give you a chance to take advantage of growing seasons and availability of farmers markets. Shopping local grocery stores for sales on veggies is another way to cut costs. “You may think it’s expensive to eat healthy but look for what’s on sale,” Urban said.

Try this stir-fry recipe the next time you want something a little different and fun.

Lemon Chicken Stir Fry

Prep/cook time: 40 minutes

Servings: 4 1½-cup servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup diagonally sliced carrots, (¼ inch thick)
  • 2 cups snow peas, (6 ounces), stems and strings removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, white and green parts divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Instructions

Grate 1 teaspoon lemon zest and set aside. Juice the lemon and whisk 3 tablespoons of the juice with broth, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate with tongs. Add mushrooms and carrots to the pan and cook until carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add snow peas, scallion whites, garlic and reserved lemon zest. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Whisk broth mixture and add to the pan; cook, stirring, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add scallion greens, chicken and any accumulated juices; cook, stirring, until heated through, 1-2 minutes.

People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces labeled “gluten-free,” as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition information

Each serving contains 223 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat); 3 g fiber; 14 g carbohydrates; 28 g protein; 53 mcg folate; 63 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 5,984 IU vitamin A; 37 mg vitamin C; 62 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 555 mg sodium; 716 mg potassium

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (120 percent daily value), vitamin C (62 percent dv)

Source: EatingWell magazine

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  1. Avatar Jun 13, 2019

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