Don’t let dinner be drudgery on those days when you’re rushed. Many of us arrive home with our starving kids in tow, and lots of homework that needs to get done. With a little advanced planning, you can serve up a healthy, delicious meal in very little time. Here are a few quick healthy food ideas that will make life simpler, without compromising the nutritional content of your meals.
Buy your fresh vegetables washed and cut from a salad bar at your local market, and try these simple ways to use them.
- Stir-fry the veggies in a dash of extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic. Boil whole wheat pasta. Drain and toss with the veggies. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Lightly steam until the color brightens and remove from heat. Toss with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a dash of salt and serve.
- Add them raw to salads.
- Pack in lunches throughout the week.
- Serve on a plate with a favorite salad dressing for dipping.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fresh Mexican fast food restaurant nearby, they usually offer several relatively healthy menu items that can be easily transported or even eaten in the car!
- Skip the nachos and order grilled chicken breast and veggies with rice and beans on the side.
- Serve the rice, beans and veggies as the main course and skip the meat.
- Rice and beans can also be taken home and served as a side dish.
- Request dark greens to be used in your food instead of shredded iceberg lettuce.
- Choose whole wheat tortillas when possible. Serve these with the rice and beans or in quesadillas.
Keeping in mind that vegetables and whole grains should occupy the majority of real estate on the dinner plate, introduce salads filled with veggies to your children as early as possible, and serve them regularly as a main course. Add various forms of protein and whole grain breads on the side.
- Wash and chop veggies on a day when you have time, and serve them throughout the week.
- Swing by the local market and buy them right from the salad bar. Add multi-colored peppers and a salad dressing made with extra virgin olive oil (no hydrogenated oils). Toss in some drained kidney beans, cannellini beans or chickpeas. All you need is a piece of warm whole grain bread and the meal is complete.
- If your kids snarl at the site of beans, add some chopped turkey to the salad instead, or serve it on the side. Some markets even sell hot roasted turkey breast in the same location with the freshly roasted chickens. Left over turkey can also be served throughout the week in turkey sandwiches, wraps, or quesadillas.
Eating well doesn’t necessarily have to be the result of hours of preparation. Take advantage of these simple short cuts and still serve up healthy, delicious meals for your family.