Moms everywhere love fast food. Not the burger and fries that are served out of a drive-through window, but the quick, easy meals that take only minutes to make, leaving more time to spend with family. But, some skeptics believe that quick-fix meals don’t always offer a lot of nutrition. Here are a few tips and tricks to save time in the kitchen without sacrificing nutrition.
Get more time on your side with these quick tips:
What’s for Lunch? Sandwiches are always easy to make for lunch, but there’s a way to make them even easier to pack. Make all of your kids’ sandwiches ahead of time, perhaps on a Sunday night. Try getting the kids involved and turning it into a family assembly line. In the morning rush to get the kids to school, just grab and go.
The Main Ingredient. Give new meaning to the term “leftovers.” Choose one main ingredient that can be used to make several dishes during the week. For example, cook a large quantity of chicken breasts at the beginning of the week. Chicken can be reinvented throughout the week in recipes such as chicken casserole, chicken Caesar wraps, chicken fajitas and more. Plus, buying in bulk may save you some cash in the process.
Snack Attack! You’ve got enough going on without having to head back to the kitchen for snack time. Set aside one cabinet in your house and fill it with healthy snack foods, like dried fruit, granola, nuts and more. Tell your child that he or she can eat anything from the cabinet after school. This is a great way to monitor what your kids eat and teach them to make healthy choices.
Give Them a Little Independence. Let your kids make breakfast with this quick tip. Place a bowl of cereal and a cupful of milk in the refrigerator at night. Set out a napkin and spoon. The next morning, all your kids have to do is pour the milk in the cereal bowl. Each step to making breakfast is prepared and the portions are determined. It’ll give you a few extra minutes in the morning and gives your little chef some independence.
Have a Balanced Meal. It’s important to have a balanced meal–greens, starch, protein. But cooking each individual side dish can take time in the kitchen and create a lot of pots, pans and dishes to clean. Try making recipes that combine these nutritious foods. A beef-vegetable stir-fry over rice or broccoli and chicken over pasta are great examples of meals that make it easy to eat healthy and hearty. HINT: This also works for lunches. Add an apple and dried cranberries to your favorite chicken salad recipe.