Wellness Matters

Quick and Easy Meal Planning Ideas

September 17, 2014

It's that time of year - busy school and work schedules and after-school activities. Hectic schedules can detour making good nutrition for you and your family a priority.

To make sure the entire family is fueling up wisely at breakfast, lunch and dinner, follow these tips.

Quick and easy ideas:

Breakfast

No one should skip breakfast. Studies show that children who skip breakfast tend to perform poorly in school and adults who skip breakfast will consume more calories due to hunger. Here are some quick and easy ways to squeeze a nutritious breakfast into your routine:

  • Peanut butter sandwich on whole-wheat bread with 1 cup of skim milk
  • 1 8-ounce carton of low-fat yogurt, 1 small whole-grain bagel, 1/2 cup of calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Fruit smoothie: Blend 1 cup of soy milk, 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries, 1/2 a banana and 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Instant oatmeal with raisins and a glass of skim milk
  • Two whole-grain waffles with low-sugar syrup, 1/2 a banana and a glass of skim milk
  • Scrambled eggs with whole-wheat toast and fruit

Lunch

Don't derail your healthy eating efforts in one meal. Packing a healthy lunch can seem like a challenging task, but it doesn't have to be. And if you child prefers to eat at school, review the school lunch menus together.

Include fruits, vegetables and/or healthy snacks to your lunch for the greatest nutritional value, such as the following:
  • Baby carrots with low-fat dressing
  • Raisins or other dried fruit
  • Celery with peanut butter
  • Applesauce cups
  • Pineapple, kiwi, mango or other fruit
  • Pretzels or popcorn
  • Yogurt
  • String cheese
  • Animal crackers
  • Fat-free pudding cups

Dinner

After a busy day at the office and/or driving children around, who can think about what's for dinner? Fast food and takeout seem like easy, no-fret options, but calories and fat can add up quickly.

Healthy dinner options don't have to take a lot of time to prepare, as long as you plan ahead. Consider having one of the following:
  • Chicken, spinach and low-fat quesadillas with salad and fruit for dessert
  • Salad in a bag, pizza with precooked crust, ready-to-eat pizza sauce, part-skim mozzarella cheese and veggies, and fresh fruit.
  • Rotisserie chicken, steamed broccoli with low-fat cheese and baked french fries.

What are some of your quick go-to options for a busy schedule? Let us hear from you!

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