Stir-fries cover a lot of good food groups. They have protein, vitamins from vegetables, and energy from grains. As long as you don’t use a particularly salty, sugary or fatty sauce, stir-fries can be a great main meal of the day. Ideally you should, of course, have more than one good meal a day. Some experts (from various good sources that can be found through simple searches) say we should eat closer to six small (but good) meals a day. But it’s true that busy college lifestyles rarely accommodate that kind of dietary dedication. That’s okay; we still try.
Step One: Turn on the rice cooker.
You can also make noodles to eat with your stir-fry if that suits your preferences. Rice and noodles both accomplish the same goals: fast-burning energy and something to soak up a yummy sauce.
Step Two: Chop up some protein.
It doesn’t really matter what kind of protein you use, as long as you know how to cook it thoroughly. Pick your favorite. It can be chicken, steak, tofu or whatever. It’s generally easier to cook something in a frying pan if it’s easy to cut without totally falling apart. Cut into cubes or slices so it’s easier to eat. Then throw it in the pan with a little (about a tablespoon) vegetable or olive oil. Using sesame oil makes everything taste amazing (in my opinion), but it can be hard to find sesame oil that’s not outrageously priced.
Step Three: Toss in some veggies.
Try to make them good veggies that have lots of vitamins and minerals. Broccoli, spinach and carrots are pretty decent. Generally speaking, dark-colored vegetables have more nutrients. So things like corn, although they’re super delicious, aren’t actually as good for you. Really though, you can use whatever vegetables you want. Anything greens are better than no greens.
I never noticed until I left my parent’s house, but vegetables go bad a lot faster than I would like. It’s actually kind of hard to keep fresh greens in the fridge. They’ll go bad if left there for much more than a week. There is a difference, but it’s not a whole lot. With canned veggies, you have to be careful with the added salts. Some brands add a lot more sodium than others. Both canned and frozen veggies are cooked a little in order to be preserved. Some of the vitamins and other nutrients are lost when vegetables are cooked, which is why raw veggies are the healthiest. But if it’s a matter of eating rotten vegetables, no vegetables, or frozen/canned vegetables, I’d go with the preserved ones.
Step Four: Stir in some sauce.
You can use premade sauces from the store—just read the label before you buy it. Sugars, salts and fats taste great and fly off the grocery store shelves. But that’s probably not what you want in your stir-fry.
You can also make your own sauce. A full spice cabinet makes great sauces. Just put in your favorite flavors.
Step Five: Throw your stir-fry on a plate with your rice or noodles, and chow down.