Moms’ meal planner: A week of healthy meals
Serving healthy meals each day isn’t hard to do; it just takes a little planning and a kitchen stocked with nutritious and versatile options. Try these easy tips for a week of healthy meals that even the busiest of moms can manage -- and that the whole family will enjoy.
Mary Pat Alfaro, M.S., R.D. and clinical manager in the division of Nutrition Therapy at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, says that a nutrient-rich diet starts with a healthy breakfast consisting of high-fiber and nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits and dairy products. Instead of grabbing for quick but unhealthy prewrapped morning treats, try these healthy breakfast options that you and your kids can take on the go:
Place plain instant oatmeal into a microwave-safe container and add low-fat vanilla soymilk and a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon. Microwave for up to three minutes, and top with a heaping handful of fresh blueberries.
Low-fat Greek yogurt has a delicious, creamy texture that provides a nice dose of healthy protein. Pour a half cup of low-fat granola into a portable container with some berries and let kids mix their own morning parfaits.
Scramble an egg and immediately dish onto a slice of whole-grain bread. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, add a few sprigs of fresh leaf spinach, and fold it in half. Wrap it in aluminum foil for a portable and healthy hot breakfast.
Alfaro says that you and your kids will be more likely to eat a healthy lunch when you banish food boredom. Make sandwiches using whole-grain pitas, English muffins or tortillas. Accompany grapes, apple wedges, strawberries or melon balls with a dipping sauce of low-fat yogurt or natural peanut butter. Include a package of single-serve hummus with baby carrots, celery sticks, broccoli and grape tomatoes to reduce the odds that veggies will get tossed into the lunchroom trashcan.
Meal Makeover Moms Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex offer plenty of recipes for busy moms on their site and say the key to a week of healthy meals is a well-stocked kitchen. Always keep the freezer and pantry filled with versatile options such as frozen shrimp, chicken, ground turkey, frozen and canned vegetables, sauces, salsas, whole-grain pasta and beans. That way, you'll always have ingredients on hand to make simple, healthy meals such as shrimp tacos, turkey burgers, and chicken and vegetables -- even during the craziest of weeks. Check out their free seven-day meal planner to get your kitchen organized for healthy eating, week after week.