Several nights during our busy holidays, Kathie popped a frozen, self-rising pizza in the oven and we called it supper. We tried to balance things with salad and apple slices, but too many nights of this leaves me feeling guilty that our mealtime is neglected.
In today’s busy world, providing healthy meals for a family is a challenge. Two things may help get healthy foods on the table fast, stocking up and getting it to go (keeping good nutrition in mind).
A well-stocked pantry and freezer goes a long way toward letting you create healthy meals in a jiffy. Keeping nutritious ingredients on hand makes it easy to throw something together in a rush.
Here are some items to stock up on:
— Eggs: great for a quick family omelet or fried rice dinner
— Canned tuna or salmon: Whip up a tuna salad and tuck it into a whole wheat pita, use salmon on top of a salad, or make a quick chowder
— Canned beans such as garbanzos: great in soups or as part of a meatless meal
— Whole grain breads: use heart-healthy whole grains to make great sandwiches
— Marinara spaghetti sauce: look for sauces low in sugar and create pasta dishes in no time
— Grated hard cheese, such as cheddar: a good source of calcium and protein, cheese makes everything taste good
— Frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast: lean, healthy chicken is a versatile source of protein
— Frozen or canned fruit and vegetables: toss them into soups or spaghetti sauce or saute with some herbs for a tasty side dish.
— Take advantage of ready-made items. There are a lot of nutritious choices available that will make dinner time fast and healthy. Rotisserie chicken can be a fast affordable way to get dinner.
— Use ready-made side dishes.
Other good-to-go items include:
Thin crust pizza tipped with veggies
100 percent ground turkey breast burgers or prepared veggie burgers
Healthy, hearty soups
Super-foods to include this year:
Canola oil has the best nutritional balance of any popular cooking oil, is cholesterol free, has no trans fat, and is one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fat.
Pecans are the highest in antioxidant capacity of all nuts, have over 19 vitamins and minerals, and are high in fiber and a good source of protein.
Dried plums “… are bite-sized nuggets of super-fruit goodness…and they’re super-affordable and easy to fit into your busy life,” says David Grotto, RD, LDN, author, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. Dried plums are packed with nutrition and antioxidants and have been shown to improve digestion, control blood sugar levels, help manage cholesterol and may even help reduce skin wrinkles!
Cherries, a versatile fruit that can be found in the U.S. year round, are full of antioxidants which science links to heart-health benefits and which may also help ease the pain of arthritis and gout.
My dad freezes small containers of bing cherries in season for just this purpose. He swears that eating a few a day all year long eases pain and stiffness. Go, Dad.
Try these recipes and good health to us all!