Parents are busier than ever. Whether you are a working parent, stay-at-home parent, or single parent it probably seems like your to-do list is just getting longer and longer. Children have more and more going on, and between home, appointments, school, and extracurricular activities it can be hard to have time to cook a healthy meal. Hitting the drive thru at the closest fast food location on your way home can be tempting, but you don’t have to give in.
Snacking on the Go
- Apple Slices – My children love eating sliced apples, but heaven forbid that I cut them early and they start to turn brown. I had actually given up on brining sliced apples with us until I learned this little trick. Use your apple slicer, but do not let it slice all the way through the bottom of the apple. Pull the slicer back out the top. Now the apple is almost sliced, but slightly connected on the bottom. Hold the slices up so the apple looks like it has not been cut and wrap it in plastic wrap. When your child is ready to eat the apple they can unwrap it and simply pull each slice off as they eat it. This helps avoid the browning that children hate.
- Trail Mix – Make some homemade trail mix using all the ingredients your child loves, and maybe slip in one ingredient they haven’t tried before. You can use dry cereal, nuts, dried fruit, air popped popcorn; the list is endless.
- Carrots – This is an easy vegetable to have ready to go at all times. Peel and cut carrots and separate them into individual snack bags. When you are running out of the house you can grab one and toss it in the car with you.
- Bananas – It can’t get much simpler than this. Most children love bananas. They have easy peels which means you can open them anywhere, and you don’t eat the outside so you don’t have to worry about needing to wash them.
Healthy Meals When You are Busy
- Homemade pizza – Use English muffins, pizza sauce and low-fat shredded cheese to put together quick homemade pizzas. You can pair it with a side salad and sliced apples for a quick balanced dinner. The best part is, kids love to help make these and will enjoy making their own personal pizza.
- Tacos – This is one of my go-to dinners on busy nights because it pulls together so quickly, especially if you know you have a busy day coming. Use ground turkey in place of beef for a healthier option. Put the meat in the crock pot in the morning to make it even easier.
- Rotisserie chicken – on busy nights when you don’t want to cook, swing by the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken. Purchase a prepackaged salad, sliced pineapple, and a package of rolls. You can quickly and easily put together a “home cooked” meal your family will enjoy.
Life is busy and doesn’t look like it will be slowing down soon. As children grow their schedules fill up as much as ours do. A little preplanning goes a long way for avoiding fast food and ordering pizza night after night.