6 Super Simple Nutritious Meals
Part of your tasks as a mom is to ensure your family eats well. Eating well doesn't just mean getting food on the table in a hurry, but actually providing something nutritious and delicious.
When you get home from a long day at work, it's tempting to just order take out or to stir together a box of mac 'n cheese to please hungry kiddos. Tasty, healthy dinners don't have to be time consuming. These six options get on the table quickly, and you can feel good about what you're serving.
1) Shrimp, Salmon and Asparagus
One-pan meals are the way to go when you want to expedite prep and cleanup. This dish provides healthy omega-3 fats from salmon for brain development. Asparagus is also one of those vegetables that most kids will actually eat, especially when covered with the shrimp-flavored butter.
2) Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Your kids will enjoy filling lettuce cups with this flavorful filling--and they won't even realize they're getting their veggies. The ground chicken cooks up in just minutes and requires a few ingredients, such as bottled hoisin sauce and chopped ginger, but you can pick those up ahead of time at a weekly grocery stop. Vary the veggies, add shredded carrots, sliced cabbage or chopped spring onions. Serve a little white rice on the side to soak up the sauce.
3) Margherita Flatbread Pizza
Pizza pleases, but take-out is high in sodium and saturated fat. Homemade comes together super fast when you use purchased flat bread, such as naan, lavash or pitas. Top with sliced tomatoes and low-fat shredded mozzarella, and dinner's on the table in no time. Serve alongside a crisp green salad topped with Italian dressing.
4) Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
Use sliced mushrooms, rotisserie chicken and broccoli that steams in the bag to quick-prep for this family-pleasing casserole. It tastes homey and indulgent but uses yogurt to make the creamy sauce healthier. Chicken, cheddar, Parmesan and broccoli all pass the kid test. Toss the ingredients together right when you get home from work, pop it in the oven and relax--or help with homework--as the casserole bakes.
5) Easy Skillet Lasagna
Traditional lasagna takes time to create and clean up. However, this 30-minute version uses one pan and has all the flavor of more time-consuming recipes. Sub ground turkey for the beef, if you prefer. Heat up garlic bread to sop up the sauce and offer steamed zucchini on the side to add something green.
6) Homemade Chicken and Rice Soup
Soup is a quick meal for a busy weeknight. It requires some chopping of onion, carrots and celery, but after that, the soup virtually makes itself. Pick up a crusty loaf of bread on your way home from work to make a meal that's comforting on a cold winter day.
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Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.