Healthy Eating Tips for Busy Families

If your family’s evenings are jam-packed with activity, you may find there’s no time to eat – or only time for fast food. Try these convenient tips for eating healthy when you don’t have much of time.

Evening baseball games, piano lessons, homework, PTA meetings, soccer practice … the list goes on and on. Is your family’s nutrition suffering because of hectic schedules? Focus on some easy and convenient ways to improve your family’s nutrition so you won’t need to rely on fast food every night. Check out the suggestions below.

  1. Stock the pantry, fridge and freezer with healthy foods.Cupboard
    Brown rice (quick-cooking), barley
    Potatoes (white and sweet)
    Low-fat crackers
    Canned tuna and salmon
    Canned beans
    Lentils, dried peas
    Canned low-sodium soups
    Whole-grain breads, pitas, muffins
    Rice cakes
    Low-fat refried beans
    Olive oil, canola oil
    Cooking sprayRefrigerator
    Light cheese
    Parmesan cheese
    Low-fat cottage cheese
    Low-fat yogurt
    Skim or 1% milk
    Natural peanut butter
    Fruits and vegetables
    Mini carrots
    Trans-fat-free margarine
    Low-fat mayonnaise

    Frozen vegetables
    Chicken breast
    Lean hamburger
    Lean ground turkey
    Salmon burgers
    Veggie burgers
    Frozen fruit
    Frozen shrimp

  2. Use convenience foods mixed with fresh foods.
    • Saute onions, carrots and garlic in olive oil. Add a can of tomato soup and a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Heat and serve.
    • Saute onions, mushrooms and zucchini. Mix with leftover brown rice or pasta. Add a can of stewed tomatoes.
    • Use frozen dinners as a base, and add to them. Beware of the sodium content. Serve with a large salad and a whole-grain roll to round out the meal.
  3. When you have time, prepare foods in advance.Use small amounts of leftovers for the next day’s meal. Be creative! Use leftover chicken in a salad for lunch. Put extra chili on a baked potato for dinner. Add extra pasta to soup or a casserole, or make it into a pasta salad with leftover veggies and bottled low-fat dressing.
  4. Try freezing the following:
    • Soup, stew or chili
    • Meatballs
    • Casseroles
    • Chili
    • Turkey
    • Meatloaf
    • Homemade muffins or quick breads
    • Pot of brown rice, lentils or barley
    • Lasagna

Enjoy fall’s bounty and reap the benefits of eating pumpkins and other winter squash.

Come fall, is there anything more beautiful than a farmer’s market filled with a rainbow of inviting fruits and veggies? Autumn’s bounty isn’t just a feast for the eyes, it’s also good for the body. Pumpkins and other winter squash are rich in fiber and full of healthy carotenoids. These nutrients have been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, heart disease and age-related eye problems. Pumpkin seeds, which taste great roasted, also pack a punch. They are a good source of zinc, iron, copper, protein and magnesium. Here are some sweet and savory ideas for showcasing squash.

Play with Pasta: Blend winter squash with ricotta cheese and a dash of nutmeg to create a flavorful filling for stuffed shells.

Add Savor to Soups: Mix up an easy and exotic soup with apples, pumpkin and a dash of curry.

Batter Up: Boost the nutritional value of breads, baked goods and puddings by adding canned pumpkin to the batter.

Top It: Create rustic homemade pizza with chunks of butternut squash, grated Parmesan and a sprinkling of sage.–Rap-Discussion/t46345-Fit-to-a-Tee-The-Basics/