Time-saving tips and healthy food choices

Cooking short-cuts for Parents on the run!

Plan weekly

Take one hour every week or weekend to plan your week so that you will have the food you need to make healthy meals. Use a shopping list, and ask members of your family to contribute and accompany you to the grocery store.

Keep basic ingredients on hand

Stock up on often-used quick meal fixings, such as canned beans and tuna, rice, pasta, and jars of spaghetti sauce. Buy extra canned or frozen fruits and vegetables. Because they’re packed at the peak of freshness, they are just as nutritious as fresh ones.

Use a crockpot or slow cooker to save time

All you have to do is fill it and turn it on. When you get home in the evening, your dinner is ready. For more information on how to use a crock-pot, cooking tips, and recipes, go to: http://busycooks.about.com/ library/howtos/blcrockpot101.html.

Try batch cooking. 

During the weekend or sometime during the week, block out a couple of hours to make a big batch of chili, soup, casserole, or a pasta dish to refrigerate or freeze for some time later. Then you can just heat and eat.

Use your microwave

For recipes appropriate for a microwave, check out the following: www.goodnuke.com/recipes/.

Introduce cooking to your children. 

Let your children join you in your kitchen to help prepare meals, learn new recipes, find ingredients, and serve a family dinner. They can help you while learning nutritional information about a broad range of foods. Cookbooks especially for children pre-teen and up include Honest Pretzels by Molly Katzen, There’s a Chef in My Soup! Recipes for the Kid in Everyone, and The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Judy Krizmanic.

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Ideas for improving your food choices

Start with one of these ideas to improve your food choices this week. Or maybe you already have your own idea.

Instead of…Try…
Whole milk Low-fat (1%) milk or fat-free (skim) milk
Sour creamPlain yogurt, low-fat or non-fat
White bread or flour tortillasWhole wheat bread or whole wheat tortillas
BaconCanadian bacon or lean ham
Regular ground beef (25% fat)Extra-lean ground beef (5% fat)
Regular ice creamLow-fat frozen yogurt
Fried chickenRoasted chicken without the skin
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