Family Meals on the Fly
Real Nutrition 101: Feeding your family (healthy-ish) on the fly!
In a PERFECT world I get my grocery shopping done on Sunday. I come home, immediately give all veggies and fruit a vinegar water bath in the sink, chop them all up and put in Mason jars for easy access for meals. I also juice a lot of veggies into Mason jars for a nice boost of vitamins especially when on the go (which is always). Then I make a crockpot meal (doubling so I can freeze the other half), cook up all the ground meat or grilled chicken for 3-4 main dishes for the week, throw together an easy egg/sausage/veggie frittata into the oven for breakfasts, and hard boil a dozen eggs in the oven (yep, 325 degrees for 25 minutes, no messy water, no dirty dish, unattended cooking – my favorite kind!). All of this takes around 2 hours and I recruit my kids to help because it helps teach them how to cook and hey, they’re eating the food too. And they don’t mind because they know it helps get mom out of the kitchen faster so I can play with them.
Now let’s talk about the rest of the time…when say, all of that didn’t happen and now it’s Monday night and my starving kids are looking at me like dinner should’ve already happened. Oh and we have gymnastics today too, so now they are wondering if we are eating now or later when they're REALLY hangry. Because this ends up happening more often than the picture perfect week prep, I do plan to have several things on hand to make a meal at a moment’s notice.
Chicken sausage & frozen veggies – 10 minutes
You can go all out and sauté the sliced up sausages in some olive oil or nuke’em to eating temperature (they’re already pre-cooked, bonus). Frozen veggies come in their own steam bag now, throw those in the microwave, season how you like and boom you have a meal faster, cheaper (and healthier) than getting in the car and going through a drive-thru.
Ground Italian sausage & shredded cabbage – 15 minutes
Saute some chopped onion (can buy this frozen and keep on hand), minced garlic (comes in a jar, nice!), and sausage. Once it’s brown, throw in a bag of cole slaw mix, sauté for another 5 minutes. Dinner. Is. Served.
Sloppy joes & raw veggies – 10 minutes
Brown some ground beef/turkey, add a packet of sloppy joe seasoning mix (McCormick’s makes a great one w/o MSG and all the fillers) and tomato sauce. Serve on Sandwich Thins with baby carrots right out of the bag. (Can also make this in advance, double recipe and save the other half for the freezer)
Veggie burgers w/cheese & raw or steamed veggies – less than 10 minutes
Morning Star makes a super delicious black bean veggie burger, if you’re looking for a vegetarian dish (and can do soy). Pop’em in the microwave for 2 minutes, melt some cheese on them or better yet smear some avocado on them, serve with sweet pepper slices. Yum!
Breakfast for dinner -15 minutes
This is by far our favorite meal! What’s better than breakfast? Breakfast TWICE! Scramble some eggs (or eggwhites mixed in) on the stove w/sautéed spinach and onions, top with shredded cheese. Serve with apple slices and voila, breakfast….er…dinner is served!
Dinner doesn’t have to be hot either! Throw together some sandwiches w/your favorite bread, deli meat, cheese, mayo/mustard, crunchy veggies, a raw fruit on the side and head out the door with them. If you’re Paleo, forgo the bread and put it all on a romaine leaf – also portable and extra vitamin K!
There you have it. I highly recommend “perfect world” mentioned in paragraph one. It frees up time during the week and ensures quality, healthy meals for your family. However, consider adding those convenience ingredients from the suggestions above to your grocery list, just in case perfect world doesn’t happen. ;)