By Brenna Robinson
All moms are busy, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or you work outside your home it can be difficult to work in a healthy home cooked meal for your family. The idea of making a quick, healthy, kid friendly meal can be a puzzle. What usually happens is that you think you’ve prepared a tasty and healthy meal for your kids, but they crinkle their nose, refuse to eat and you order pizza. You wish you could be a Chef Ramsey in the kitchen and whip up a delicious and healthy meal but as hard as you have tried, you just don’t have the talent.
You have the right ingredients in your pantry right now to make a delicious meal. You can do this, go to your pantry and find a carbohydrate. This can be beans, tortillas, bread, pasta, or potatoes. Next, go to your refrigerator and find a protein, any meat or if you are a vegetarian, any protein replacement. It’s okay if you do not have any protein. Your goal is to cook a meal that is quick but still nutritious; your family will survive one meal without protein. Next, find a vegetable; it could be onions, tomatoes, green peppers, lettuce or any other veggie. If you cannot find a vegetable, look to see if you have any sauces, soups or broths such as tomato sauce, salsa, pasta sauce, tomato soup, or vegetable broth.
Getting your kids involved will make them feel like they have a role in making the meal. Let them pick the ingredients and see what you can come up with together. Your kids will be more willing to try the food knowing that they chose the ingredients.
This task may still seem daunting so here are examples of quick meals you can prepare. You can add or remove any ingredient to make it your own, there are no rules.
Carbohydrate: Tortillas (such as flour or corn), sandwich thins, or bagels
Vegetable: Tomato paste or sauce, pizza sauce, or marinara sauce (you may need to add some spices such as garlic or Italian seasoning if you use plain tomato paste or sauce), black olives, peppers
Protein: Whatever meat you have such as pepperoni, ground meat, chicken, or ham
Directions: Cook meat. Place sauce, meat and cheese on pizza. Place pizza in oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Eat and enjoy!
Carbohydrate: Pasta (any, you can even combine different ones)
Vegetable: Salsa or tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes (you may need to add some Mexican seasoning when using unseasoned tomatoes)
Protein: Any ground meat or chicken
Optional: cheese, low fat sour cream, avocados
Directions: Cook meat. Prepare Pasta. Combine ingredients and add optional items. Eat and enjoy!
Carbohydrate: Refried Beans, corn or flour tortillas, or rice
Protein: ground meat or chicken
Vegetable: Here you can use salsa, diced tomatoes, tomato soup, crushed tomatoes, and tomato paste (again, you may want to use Mexican seasonings if using unseasoned tomatoes)
Optional toppings: cheese, low fat sour cream, crumbled corn or tortilla chips on top
Directions: Cook meat. Place a layer of carbohydrates, meat, and your vegetable in casserole dish and cook for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Add optional toppings and serve.
Carbohydrate: Tortillas (such as flour or corn)
Protein: deli meat, cooked chicken or steak, or any other cooked meat
Vegetable: lettuce, onions, tomatoes, spinach, avocados or green, red or yellow peppers (any vegetable can go here)
Optional: cheese, mayonnaise, low fat sour cream, salad dressing
This meal is your creation. You can prepare these in your kitchen or you can create a sandwich bar so the kids can create their own wrap.
Carbohydrate: Pasta, rice, or packaged rice noodles
Protein: cooked chicken or beef
Vegetable: diced carrots, peas, corn, or celery (pick your child’s favorite veggie)
Vegetable: vegetable broth (can use chicken or beef broth in place of vegetable broth)
Directions: Prepare pasta, rice or rice noodles, drain. Bring broth to a boil. Combine meat, carbohydrate and vegetables in broth. Season with salt or other seasonings as needed. Serve.
These are just a few quick meals that you can make when short on time. There are hundreds of choices in your kitchen right now… it just takes a little creativity from your taste buds!