Let’s be honest – by the time our kids get home from school and we get home from a long day at work, the last thing we feel like doing is slaving away in the kitchen to make healthy, gourmet meals. It’s easy to fall into the habit of popping in a frozen pizza, ordering out, or heading for the packaged meal section… but there are easy swaps that help to make healthier meals and snacks in just minutes. Try these easy tweaks for healthier eats in minutes.
Pizza: Who doesn’t love pizza? But the frozen varieties tend to be unfulfilling, while the take-out and delivery versions are laden with fat and processed starches. Thankfully, pizza is incredibly easy to make at home. If you have some time, try the cauliflower pizza crust – it’s low carb and a great way to sneak a vegetable into your kid’s diets in a way they totally won’t mind. Short on time? There are plenty of pre-made crusts at the grocery store – just opt for the whole wheat.Some stores even make fresh whole wheat dough – this is a great way to make it healthier, but still fresh. Load up on veggies and cut back on cheese.
Spaghetti Night: The worst part of spaghetti night isn’t the starch – it’s the sauce. Whole wheat or alternative noodles are a given – so now move on to amping up that sauce. Instead of grabbing the sugar-laden pre-made sauces from the pantry, semi home-make your own. Saute garlic in a bit of olive oil, then add a pinch of salt and some Italian seasoning and toast it in the pan for about 30 seconds. Add in 15 oz of tomato sauce and you’re ready to go – it’s sugar free and tastes far better than anything off the grocery store shelf.
Taco Tuesday: Tacos are fun and easy, but can become easy to over eat and make unhealthy.Try using shredded chicken simmered in taco seasoning or ground turkey instead of the ground beef – it’s an easier way to retain the flavor, but cut the fats. Next, swap the flour tortillas for corn tortillas – or better yet, get rid of the tortilla all together and make it a taco salad. Be mindful of sour cream and cheese on top – instead, try using a salsa verde to add flavor and texture.
Pantry Snack Time: The Hostess and Little Debbie snack cakes are easy, but it’s no surprise that they aren’t healthy. Clear them out of the pantry and instead stock up on quick and easy-to-grab prepared snacks, such as part skim mozzarella sticks, pre-portioned orange slices, ants on a log, or simple cheese and crackers. Take five minutes at the start of the week to divide snacks into snack bags and leave them in the bottom drawer of your fridge so your kids can help themselves after school.
~Valley Voice Blog