Healthy Meal Hacks for Busy Families
We are all busy. Busy has become the new normal. Running from one appointment to the next with soccer practice, dance class, and whipping up a healthy dinner thrown in the mix just sounds like a regular old Tuesday.
As parents and professionals, we feel like we need to get more done in fewer hours, which often leaves healthy habits trailing behind as casualties of an over-committed lifestyle. We all know what we should be doing and recognize the importance of a healthy diet and regular work outs, but the biggest roadblock is our overall lack of time.
Words like "grab-and-go," "dashboard dining" or "fast food" conjure up images of unhealthy, grease-laden and processed food. Thankfully, consumers now have greater choices that range from local markets to national brands that have tuned in to their customers' growing desire for healthy, convenient food choices.
We’ve come up with a few healthy eating hacks to get you and your family through the day or week.
1. Make a plan for the week.
2. Prepare some basics in advance. Hard boil eggs, grill chicken or make a batch of chili and freeze it in portion sizes.
3. Keep a core group of healthy frozen foods and pantry items in the house for quick and easy solutions like English muffins with peanut butter, waffles with two hardboiled eggs or a strawberry-banana smoothie made with plain yogurt, frozen strawberries, fresh spinach, half a banana and milk.
4. Stock up on healthy snacks to keep in the car.
5. Have a Plan B to mass-produced fast food. Fuel up at local markets that prepare healthier food in-house and, for extra credit, pair a grilled flank steak with a pre-packaged bag of salad for a boost of greens.
Remember, when you're overcome by the grind of everyday life and your balancing act may be slightly out of balance, you can use local, trustworthy resources to help make it through. Grab quick, convenient meals and snacks that you can either heat up or assemble and that you’ll feel good about eating and feeding to your family.
Justin Vignola is director of fresh food and Audrey Hasse is a registered dietitian for Swiss Farms. Find a Swiss Farms location near you.
See page 2 for quick and healthy recipes to try at home.
Pasta with Five-Minute Cashew and Pumpkin Seed Romesco Sauce
- 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers
- 7-ounce can diced tomato (half can)
- 1 cup Creative Snacks roasted cashews *
- ½ cup SuperSeedz sea salt pumpkin seeds *
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt, pepper and garlic powder
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 box Barilla pasta*
- Boil water for pasta.
- Cook according to box directions.
- Combine first seven ingredients in a blender.
- Blend for one minute.
- Toss sauce and pasta together.
Lightening-Quick Crunchy Maple Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1 cup Skippy Peanut Butter *
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. Aunt Jemima pancake syrup*
- 1 large egg*
- ¼ cup SuperSeedz maple sugar and sea salt seeds *
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine all five ingredients in a mid-sized bowl.
- Mix until smooth.
- Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes.
* Swiss Farms products