A microwave oven can be a convenient addition to your kitchen because it speeds the cooking process and still produces flavorful and nutritious foods. While you cannot cook all foods in a microwave with good results, some foods fare just as well as they would in an oven or on a stove top. Keep your microwave in mind when cooking these foods, and you will be able to prepare healthy meals quickly.
Heating a bag of frozen vegetables is a common use for a microwave oven, but you can also use it to prepare fresh vegetables. Steaming vegetables in a covered microwave-safe dish allows them to retain their nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and fiber. JoAnna M. Lund and Barbara Alpert, authors of "Cooking Healthy with a Microwave: A Healthy Exchanges Cookbook," suggest that vegetables like squash, carrots, bell peppers, celery, onions and mushrooms steam well in the microwave. Chop vegetables into chunks, sprinkle them with herbs and spices and cook them on medium-high until tender, about six to eight minutes.
Hot Breakfast Cereal
Oatmeal, farina and other grain-based hot cereals are simple to prepare in the microwave and are nutritious as well. Whole grains, such as oatmeal, supply several grams of fiber per serving. Andrew Larson and Ivy Larson note in their book, "The Gold Coast Cure: The 5-Week Health and Body Makeover," that making a bowl of hot cereal only takes about one to two minutes and produces flavorful results. Place 1/2 cup of dry cereal in a microwaveable bowl and add between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup of low-fat milk or soy milk. Heat for one minute, stir and heat for a few seconds more if it is not hot throughout. Add fresh fruit or nuts to your cereal for a nutrition boost.
Scrambled eggs are a protein-packed food that can be prepared in the microwave rather than on the stove top. Lund and Alpert note that cooking eggs in the microwave yields fluffy and tasty results. Spray a large microwave-safe bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Crack in six to eight eggs, 1/4 cup of low-fat half and half and any desired spices. Stir in 1/4 cup of low-fat shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and microwave on medium-high for three to four minutes, or until the eggs are set and no longer runny. Stop after the first minute and stir the eggs. Top with salsa, tomatoes and onions for a meal that supplies protein and vitamin C.
Russet and sweet potatoes are nutritious foods that can be cooked in the microwave more quickly than in the oven. Russet potatoes supply a good amount of potassium and vitamin C, and sweet potatoes are a notable source of beta-carotene and fiber. Scrub the potatoes and pierce them with a sharp knife. Bake at medium-high heat for four minutes. Continue cooking one minute at a time until the potato is soft throughout. Slice open and top with low-fat plain yogurt or salsa. Another way to cook potatoes is to cube them, drizzle with olive oil and spices and cook until soft, about three to five minutes.
- "Cooking Healthy with a Microwave: A Healthy Exchanges Cookbook"; JoAnna M. Lund and Barbara Alpert; 2005
- "The Gold Coast Cure: The 5-Week Health and Body Makeover"; Andrew Larson and Ivy Larson; 2006