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Speedy dinner meal tips

Healthy eating can be quick and easy with very little preparation.

Here are some tips that can keep your family eating at home even when the schedule is busy:

Plan on one trip to the grocery store for the week. Go prepared with a list and save time by eliminating trips later in the week.

Plan 6 basic entrees and six side dishes for the week. Recipes with 5 ingredients or fewer are less time consuming. Check the recipes to make sure you have all the ingredients for these recipes. If not, add them to your grocery list. Involve the family in this step to help them "buy in" to the menu. Post the menu on the refrigerator so that everyone will know what to expect. Plan the quicker meals for the busier nights. Think simple and save the fancy meals for the weekends or special occasions. Double the recipe when if it is a time-consuming meal and save leftovers for another night or freeze for a different week.

Include at least three different food groups for the meal. Stock up on fresh or frozen vegetables, canned and fresh fruit, whole wheat pasta, brown rice or whole-grain bread and milk to serve with your main entrees. Vary the color to add eye appeal and make it nutritious!

Check your calendar for the week and plan your menus according to the time you have each night. If you have only 30 minutes at home, take out meat the night before to thaw. Use the table top grill, the broiler, and the crock pot to prepare your meals quickly. You can broil or grill your meat while microwaving a vegetable and preparing some instant rice, potatoes or pasta on the stove. Start a crock pot meal in the morning with trimmed, lean meat, rinsed or peeled vegetables and potatoes and your favorite seasonings to have a hot meal ready when you arrive home for dinner.

Consider a theme for each night of the week to simplify your menu plan. Fridays favorites are often pizza or fish fry. Expand that idea to each night of the week. Here are some ideas:

  • Pasta/ Italian
  • Breakfast for dinner- Prepare your favorites that you don’t have time 
  • to enjoy in the morning.
  • Mexican cuisine
  • Stir-fry
  • Fifteen-minute meal
  • Asian cuisine
  • Sandwiches
  • Crockpot meal
  • Casserole
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