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
3 No-Stress Quick, Healthy Lunches
Heading back to school is filled with plenty of things to worry about… school supplies, clothes,paperwork, medical records… the list seems endless. Nevermind school lunches. As if the debate between brown bagging it or buying lunch at school wasn’t enough, adorable animal–themed Bento boxes have seemingly consumed Pinterest-lovers everywhere. While your child would no doubt love a differently themed lunch every day, let’s be honest – who has the time (or the drawer of kitchen gadgets) to make that a reality? So instead, let’s just call it what it is from day one and agree that a quick, healthy approach to lunch is the way to go.
Here are ways to make it happen:
#1 – Taco Bar – Most kids love tacos, thanks to getting to play with their food and plain deliciousness. For parents, even better than the likelihood they’ll get eaten is the sheer easiness of packing that lunch, not to mention that we get to sneak in some veggies. Make use of those bento boxes or simply line up the ingredients neatly in one larger container – anything goes. Remember the whole wheat tortilla and don’t forget to add in healthy ingredients, like tomatoes and avocado (avoid browning by adding a bit of lemon juice or simply leaving the pit in). Add aside of beans and call it a day – it’s a lunch you can pack using last night’s leftover meat and pulling everything else together in less than five minutes.
#2 – Lunchables – It’s hard to pass up the convenience of those little pre-packaged beauties in the refrigerated section, but between the cost and the sodium and sugar levels, it’s best to just keep walking. Instead, take five minutes and make your own at home for a fraction of the price. Instead of the Ritz crackers, swap in a whole grain cracker. Use a low-sodium meat or, even better, skip the deli counter and use rotisserie chicken or turkey breast. Add in some tomato and cucumber slices to sneak a vegetable in, then swap the sugary drink for milk. It’s an easy makeover that you can put together in just a few minutes – and it’s still fun for your child to play with come lunch time.
#3 – Tapas – Small plates are fun for everyone, and while you may feel a bit random packing them for your child, it’s an easy way to give them a variety of healthy options that create a rounded meal in a fun way. Pop in some olives and wheat crackers or a small amount of pasta salad, then add in some cheese cubes and protein option (last night’s leftovers work beautifully). Veggies and hummus round it out easily and healthily. The best thing is that you can make the lunch in full using what you already have prepared in your fridge – but by repackaging it in small quantities, it becomes fun!
Making lunch fun doesn’t need to include 50 cookie cutters and specialty containers. Instead, look for ways to use what you already have and instead make the delivery method something your child can “play” with – in an approved way.
We are so thrilled with our new website and all the new positive changes we’re bringing to our athletes and families Valley Athletics. We hope you come in to the gym and check out all the updates inside including our new waiting room area, cafe and for Parents our VALLEY LOUNGE, but also hope you check out our WEB SPECIALS for new class schedules and pricing.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook as we’ll be running promos and announcing Special Events weekly.
Have a great day!
~Tracy & The Valley Staff
This is the post excerpt.
We are so excited to announce our Grand Re-opening at Valley Athletics. Our new website is launching, our building is undergoing improvements every day, and we have so many new classes and events for our kids.
This blog, The Valley Voice will be a forum for sharing all things related to Valley Athletics, from tips on fitness for kids, interviews, testimonials, cool finds online, inspiration, parenting tips, etc!
Are you interested in being a contributor/blogger on the Valley Voice? contact Kerri at Valley Athletics, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Valley Voice.