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Fast, nutritious meals for your family

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

Get dinner on the table in no time

Families on the go can find it hard to get a nutritious meal on the table fast. But with a few easy tricks, your family can be eating good, fresh meals in no time.

Woman preparing quick dinner

 

If your family is like most these days, you probably have a lot on your plate: school, extracurriculars for the kids, work, keeping a tidy home. As a mom, that can mean it's difficult to put a good meal on the table for your family. However with a little preparation and some quick recipes, you can make sure that your family eats properly.

What makes a good meal?

Confused about what makes a good meal? You aren't alone. It can be daunting to pull together a meal with just the right elements to keep it nutritionally balanced. Arming yourself with the right knowledge is the first step in creating fast, nutritional meals for your family.

Jacque Miller, a behavioral nutritionist from Arizona, says that a good meal – whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner, should have protein, complex carbohydrates and fresh fruits and veggies. "Get those servings in. You can have a fruit salad instead of a lettuce salad (for instance)," says Miller.

It's important, Miller notes, to keep portions in check. "If you divide your plate in half, half your plate should be full of colorful vegetables. The other half should be split in half (again) and you should have protein and carbs (in each of those halves)," says Miller.

Easy meal shortcuts

Sometimes, it can feel like fast food is the only option. You are crunched for time and need to get dinner on the table five minutes ago. But the truth is that with a few shortcuts, you can have a great meal on the table fast.

Convenience items such as rotisserie chicken from the grocery store can be a huge help in making a fast, healthy dinner, says Jeanne Muchnick, author of Dinner for Busy Moms which is due out from Plain White Press on April 1. "Give yourself breathing room," she advises. "The bottom line is to figure out what your shortcomings are (and play to your strengths)."

If you know you will be rushing, think ahead and pick up some items that can help you prepare dinner fast such as precut veggies, prewashed salad and precooked meats.

Next up: Fast, nutritious dishes

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