NDSU Extension - Benson County

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Healthy Eating for Busy Families

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

 

Healthy Eating for Busy Families

Every part of the year comes with its own kind of busyness, and the beginning of a new school year is no exception.  When everyone in the family seems to be on the go, it is essential to take a moment to remember the importance of eating nutritiously. 

Before going to the grocery store, take a few spare minutes to plan out at least a few of the week’s meals so that frequent visits can be avoided.  Look ahead to your family’s schedule and try to find times that work to share family meals together.  It may be breakfast, supper, or a quick meal in between activities, regardless of when it occurs, taking time to spend together is vital.  Planning meals that include ingredients from most (or all) of the five food groups is also essential to a healthy family. 

If you are looking for quick and nutritious meals, try these plan ahead ideas to reduce the amount of time it takes to make a meal at home.

  • Pre-wash and pre-cut fruits and vegetables that will be used for the meal
  • Pre-sliced stir fry meats or boneless chicken breasts
  • Purchase pre-chopped garlic in a jar
  • Use frozen bread dough
  • Try pasta salad mixes that only require a few ingredients to be added

Meals are the best when they are shared together.  Buying foods partially prepared, or preparing part of the meal ahead of time are great ways to ensure that more time will be spent together.  Family meals provide structure and have a positive impact on the language development of those at the table.  Research has also shown that families meals are related to a lower risk of obesity in children and teenagers. 

Below is a recipe for two step chicken.  It is a quick meal that can easily be paired with fresh vegetables.  Enjoy!

Two Step Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 Boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup water

 

Directions: Heat oil in a skillet at a medium-high setting.  Add chicken and cook for ten minutes.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  Stir the soup and water together in the skillet and heat it to a boil.  Return the chicken to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Makes: 4 servings.  Each serving contains 262 calories, 2 grams of fat, 574 mg of sodium, 5 carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, and 33 grams of protein. 

 

Sources:  

  • NDSU Extension Service, Good Nutrition for Busy Families, October 2012
  • ONIE Project - Oklahoma Nutrition Information and Education. Simple Healthy Recipes
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