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TS-14: Quick Meals For Busy Families

TS-14: Quick Meals For Busy Families

You have the most control over the food your family eats when you prepare it at home. However, many of us eat a lot of fast food or pre-packaged meals because we feel pressed for time. But cooking Get Healthy Now meals and snacks at home is faster than you think!

Microwave Cooking

Don’t be afraid to cook with the microwave. Most people just use their microwave to reheat leftovers, but it can save a lot of cooking time too. It can also cook fresh or frozen vegetables in a flash. Also good in microwave: white/sweet potatoes and eggs. Add dried or fresh fruit or nuts to oatmeal for a quick and healthy snack.

Freezing Foods

Feel free to freeze. Many foods freeze well after they have been cooked. When you make a main dish for your family, cook an extra portion and freeze it for a future meal later in the week. You can also find a day when you have the time to cook two or three main dishes that you can freeze for later meals or individual portions for you to take to work for lunch.

Set The Stage

When you are cleaning up after dinner, set out breakfast items for the next morning. If your children bring their lunch to school, this is a good time to have them help make their own lunch for the following day.

Toss It In

It’s easy to make a meal healthier by adding vegetables, fruit, whole grains, or beans to a dish.

  • Vegetables – toss fresh or frozen vegetables into pasta dishes, soups or casseroles.
  • Fruit – add berries, banana slices, apple chunks or any dried fruit to breakfast cereal, yogurt or salad. Sliced fruit also makes a great topping for toast, English muffins, and bagels.
  • Whole grains – toss cooked barley or brown rice into soups.
  • Beans – toss garbanzo or red kidney beans into your salads or soups.

Prepare Ahead

If buying pre-cut fruits and vegetables is too expensive, pick a time of the day when you can do a little measuring, chopping, and slicing.

  • Tear up a few heads of lettuce for daily salads.
  • Measure out servings of trail mix for a quick snack or oatmeal for a fast breakfast.
  • Chop some carrots or celery into sticks for the children to snack on for the next few days.
  • Slice low-fat cheese to eat as snacks or with whole grain crackers or fruit.

Grab And Go

Breakfast – scramble some eggs (or egg substitute) and sweet peppers the night before. In the morning, zap the eggs in the microwave and fold them into a whole-wheat tortilla or pita with some low fat cheese. Grab a piece of fruit and walk out the door.

Snacks – if you’ve got all your vegetables chopped and snack foods measured into servings then you can just grab what you need and keep moving.

Lunch/Dinner – grab the leftovers you packed for lunch the night before or make a quick salad wrap by tossing two handfuls of lettuce and your choice of vegetables, beans, or lean meat (chicken, turkey, or fish) into the middle of a whole wheat pita. Add a light dressing, wrap it up, and go!