Between work, school, sports/after-school extracurriculars, transportation and getting the kids ready for bed, there can be little time for a well-planned meal. To continue to focus on happy and healthy eating, balance the takeout runs with some shortcuts at home for an easy meal.
- Grocery store frozen meals – Many brands of frozen entrees offer a great balance of protein and produce and are reasonable in terms of the sodium content. Try Amy’s, EVOL, Saffron Road, Primal Kitchen, Sweet Earth, and Tattooed Chef as some decent options. If these don’t satisfy hunger due to petite portions, add on a veggie, fruit, or yogurt side for a complete meal.
- Burrito bowls with lots of leftovers – This dish allows for customization of toppings and ingredients to allow for variation as well as being able to accommodate the whole family. This meal also can be stored in the fridge to allow for leftovers for the next day. Check out this 10-minute burrito bowl recipe here!
- Sheet pan meals – Takes about 20 minutes to prepare and makes use of whatever you have on hand for ingredients. Cut up your veggies and protein of choice, spread evenly on a baking sheet, spray with olive oil and seasoning of choice and place in the oven. You can use different vegetables like peppers, onions, and zucchini that cook quickly to speed up the process. Perdue and Bell & Evan’s brands make great ready to eat chicken strips that can be added in the last 5 minutes to heat with the veggies for the easiest prep protein ever. Want to add an easy grain? Brown rice Minute cups or steam in the bag quinoa packs are a lifesaver in my house.
- Stir Fry – Try the beef and broccoli dish here. This meal is a cinch to prep and cooks in 20 minutes. You can adapt to whatever protein and produce available as well.
- Mix and match convenience items – Fully cooked chicken sausages + mini naan breads in the toaster + steam in the bag green beans = dinner done in under 10 minutes. Other options may be ready to eat frozen meatballs over microwave in the bag zoodles and a side of store prepped fruit salad.
Content submitted by Jessica Roy MS, RD, LDN & Rebecca Littman, Nutrition Intern