Summer is winding down. August can be a busy month for many families. It is possible to have healthy, balanced meals even when you are busy. Fruitsandveggies.org suggests you get creative! Rather than focusing on “home-cooked” meals, enjoy a balanced diet with “home-prepared” meals. Here are a few great suggestions for dinner in a hurry or on-the-go:
- Pack Your Own – Lunch containers with divided sections are easy to find during back to school shopping season. The divided sections work great to help you plan a meal including all the food groups. Whole grain crackers, ham or turkey slices, cheese, grapes, and baby carrots make an easy balanced meal.
- Frozen Meals – In a pinch, a pre-prepared frozen meal can help you get dinner on the table. When purchasing them from the grocery store, aim for those that have 500 mg of sodium or less, and are high in protein and fiber. Increase the nutrition of the meal by adding fruits and veggies on the side. Click here to read more about choosing frozen meals.
- Mason Jars – Mason jars work great when you need your meal to be portable. Many different types of meals can be prepared this way. Some are ready to eat without any additional preparation. Others need a quick re-heat in a microwave.
- Wraps – Wraps or pita pockets tend to be more portable than your average sandwich. Try to include as many foods groups as you can when your roll up a wrap or stuff a pita. Chicken salad with chopped grapes or kiwi and slivered almonds in a pita tastes great. Click here for more salad sandwich recipes. You can opt for a sweeter flavor with peanut butter and chopped apples on a whole wheat tortilla.
- Snacks – Sometimes a snack is the best you can do. In that case, make it a balanced snack to hold you over until meal time. A protein packed granola bar with a side of fruit or hummus and carrot sticks will do the trick.
Being prepared with these simple on-the-go meal ideas make life a bit easier. As fruitsandveggies.org says, “Take these car-ready meals for a test drive as you meet the challenge of your family’s busy schedule!”.
To get started, make up a batch of Pancake Muffins. They are perfect to grab-and-go, and as part of a boxed meal.
Click here for more box meal ideas. Enjoy!