Friday, March 2, 2012

healthy meals on a rushed weeknight?!

Like many families, seems like we're always rushed getting to and from school, practice and other after- school activities and errands...
If you're a working mom, getting your kiddos fed, homework and having dinner prepared seems like so much, maybe TOO much on most nights?  This leaves us tempted to hit the nearest drive thru or restaurant.  
We all know the restaurant portions are 2-3 times the size they should be and when the portions are okay, we find ourselves consuming empty calories and too much saturated fat and salt.  
So, what's the trick?
-my main priority is making sure these boys have nutritious food on the table for most meals, so I've been thinking of some key points to make this happen!
 1. Plan your week.  I need some work when it comes to this, but I know it would help keep my family on track.  Go through your fridge and pantry to see what items you have that'll almost create an entire meal, add those other items to the grocery list and you're set!  
2.  convenience foods can be okay in moderation.  When pressed for time, don't be afraid to try some canned soups-although high in sodium, just don't make it an every day thing.  Pre-cooked meats or bagged salads.  It makes for a quick and easy meal that's still quite nutritious in comparison to the drive thru option.  
3.  Make freeze-ahead meals.  With Pinterest and its popularity, the freezer meal recipes are endless.  I had "pinned" the banana snacks below, a few weeks ago and decided to make them in bulk and freeze, this way my boys have a quick snack that they can help themselves to as needed...My blogger friend, Bridie at Healthy Living posted a great freezer recipe for english muffin pizzas with half the fat of the popular, Bagel Bites.  How brilliant!  
4. Be Prepared.  Keep certain items on hand at all times.  Vegetables, fresh or frozen, whole wheat pasta, lean ground beef or turkey, milk, extra virgin olive oil, low fat cheese, canned beans-these are great added to salads for some extra protein too, eggs and chicken breasts.
I find that if I keep these items on hand, I can create some quick and easy meals that'll satisfy my family on most nights!

how do you ensure healthy eating in your home, 
when a busy schedule presents itself?
As I mentioned at the top of this post, I am going to work really hard at meal planning.  I know it will help us make the healthiest choices and also save money along the way!  
Any tricks/tips when it comes to meal planning?  I'd love for you to share with my readers!


Christy J said...

I'm a meal planner. I make a plan for the week based on what activities we have going on, using my crockpot on nights I know we're going to be super rushed. I may not stick to the plan, but the ingredients for the meals are there and I can shuffle the days if needed. I do keep as many healthy options on hand as I can and keep fruits and veggies to fill out any less-than-stellar options we may have to resort to.

Kathy said...

I do best when I have everything planned out, but I'm not always good at that. I try to do lots of stuff ahead of time on the weekends so that the week days are easier. Doesn't always happen, but it's much better when I do!

Laura Boll said...

Like others said, having it planned is key! I try to keep well stocked with easy options (beans, tortillas, eggs, etc)- but I hear you, busy days are tough!!

Bridie said...

Hey, that's me! Thanks!

Another thing I like to do is roast up a mix of veggies on the weekend and have them on hand in the fridge. I am pretty good at meal planning dinners and sticking to them, but this is great for lunches - adding it to weight watchers or healthy choice pasta meals to boost the veggie/nutrition content. It's also good if you do end up crunched for time at dinner - add the veggies to a canned soup, or just toss with pasta and a little olive oil or marinara.

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