Let’s just be honest: No one wants their culinary skillset to specialize in chicken nuggets and frozen pizza. But with the chaos of daily life and the drive to “do it all,” we’re exercising our microwave and defrosting prowess more often than we’d like to admit. We’re all non-stop on the go – from school and work to after-school practice, games and meets, get togethers with friends and actually doing things to enjoy our families in between it all. Here are a few ways to work healthier, more nutritious meals and snacks into the mix – regardless of how busy your week may be.
Breakfast: Toast and cereal may be convenient, but they’re also largely devoid of nutrients. Keep your stomach from growling with quick meal fixes. Instead of plain peanut butter toast, add some sliced bananas and a drizzle of honey or agave. Skip the peanut butter all together and instead top that toast with avocado, egg and tomato (it’s sandwich-able to make it commute-friendly!). On Sunday, prep on-the-go egg muffins that you can heat before leaving and chow down mess-free in the car (mix scrambled eggs with some cheese and your choice of veggies; pour them in muffin tins and bake at 375 for 30 minutes). They keep for up to five days!
Lunch: Make prep your best friend. Take some time to pre-slice veggies over the weekend so that you can toss them together in a minute to make a salad. Those same veggies easily roll into a whole wheat tortilla with some hummus or avocado spread and sliced turkey for an easy, healthy on-the-go sandwich. Running out the door? Take a smoothie with; they take less than five minutes to make and are an easy way to get some fruits, veggies and protein (via yogurt) into the mix.
Snacks: Keep a bowl of fruit pre-washed and accessible so you and your kids can grab a healthy snack on the way out the door. Have hummus and a tray of carrots and sliced veggies prepped and ready in the fridge. The more convenient healthy choices are, the more likely you (and your kids) are to grab them.
Dinner: Ahh yes… dinner – where the chaos really kicks in. One word: crockpot. You can make just about anything in it, from stir fry to meatballs, tacos – you name it. The best part is, you can prep it the night before after that day’s craziness is over. And, it cooks while the next day’s events are in play without you even being there! Fresh fish is also quick to cook and pairs easily with roasted vegetables for a dinner ready to go in less than 30 minutes. Have kids that really like the “kid foods?” Make that at home in advance. Swap store-bought chicken nuggets for fileted chicken tenders dipped in egg wash, parmesan, Italian seasoning, and whole wheat bread crumbs (you can make them ahead and freeze them!). Swap the greasy pizza for a cauliflower pizza bake (no crust and you can sneak in veggies) from start to table in less than 30 minutes.
There are countless ways to cut the chaos and bring nutritious meals to your whole family. Prep ahead when possible, don’t forget about the beauty that is freezer meals and keep convenience top of mind.