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Lifestyles -

September 21, 2013

Fast food: Quick, easy meal ideas for those on the go

For those on the go, fast food doesn’t have to be the drive-thru variety.

Centuries ago, “fast food” meant eating whatever was at hand. History tells of laborers in early Rome who would make their own versions of quick meals after the toils of their work days by simply taking the stale bread from a previous day and soaking it in wine for a potent and filling stew before going to sleep. 

The nursery rhyme of “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old” makes reference to a centuries-old practice of keeping a sturdy pot hanging over the fireplace where bits and pieces of meat and vegetables were added, along with water and seasonings.

The term “fast food” came into common vocabulary in the late 1950s when restaurants began to serve meals done in minutes to people on the move. We have kept on going with busy lives, and fast-food establishments have become part of the lifestyle

But “fast food” can also mean quick-to-prepare meals in your own kitchen where special orders can be created with your family in mind.

The fast food many people are looking for now is healthy, economical and quick to prepare. Meals prepared at home can be vastly less expensive than those prepared at restaurants, and can be consumed at leisure, with second helpings available. 

Home dining can also help those watching their calorie, sodium, fat and sugar intake. Weight-loss diet gurus often recommend making your own meals as a way to drop pounds. Even quickly made dinners at home can be low-calorie, with the help of fruits and vegetables.

Slow cookers are a great way to have “fast” meals ready to eat at the end of the day. By assembling ingredients in the morning or the night before and turning on the slow cooker at the start of the day, you can come home to savory aromas and a hot, healthy meal with little work required. Baked beans are a staple of the slow cooker, but beef stew, soups, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti sauce, lasagna, roast chicken and meat loaf are just a few of the other dishes your slow cooker can help you prepare. 

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