Healthy Dinners During the School Year
With the kids back in school, I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints from patients that they don’t have enough time to prepare and eat healthy dinners. If you’re working all day and then driving the kids around to various sports practices and activities in the afternoon, it can be tempting to stop for pizza or takeout on the way home. Doing this on a regular basis can quickly add to weight gain or a plateau in your weight loss. Continue reading for some ideas on how to avoid the back to school bloat.
Make Your Dinner in the Morning
As crazy as this sounds, this might be the only time for busy parents to make dinner.
Here are some of our favorite ideas:
Crock pot meals: If you don’t already have a crockpot, consider investing in one. A crockpot meal can be thrown together in less than ten minutes and then it’s ready whenever your family gets home. Try this salsa chicken recipe.
Prepare some of the ingredients for your evening meal. For instance, if you are planning on making a soup, you can chop all the vegetables and defrost the protein in the morning. When you or a family member gets home everything can be thrown together to cook.
The term “meal prep” might conjure up visions of Tupperware containers with neatly divided sections of healthy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This method of food prep (which involves making most of your meals on one day of the week) can work for some people, but it requires a significant amount of time and motivation. Luckily, this isn’t the only type of meal prep.
Meal prep can be as simple as making two meals at the same time. Think about it – if you’re already putting the effort into making a meal, turning the oven or grill on and getting your pots and pans dirty, you might as well do two meals. The second meal can be heated up for dinner the next night. To make this work, it’s best to choose two meals that share cooking times. For instance – you could do two sheet pan meals – chicken fajitas on one pan and pesto chicken, asparagus, and tomatoes on the other pan. The best part about sheet pan dinners – less clean up! Another version of this method is simply making a larger portion of one meal so you can eat the meal two nights in a row.
Don’t feel like making a whole meal ahead of time? At least make a side dish that will last the whole week. If I’m making quinoa salad, I can prepare the recipe using the whole bag of quinoa and then refrigerate the rest. That way, I just have to make a protein and some vegetables for dinner the other nights of the week.
Have Go-To Meals You Can Throw Together Quickly
Some ideas include a roasted chicken from the supermarket with salad (lettuce comes pre-washed and then just chop up a cucumber and carrot). For a plant-based meal, try this super quick tofu scramble. Vegetables can be substituted for whatever you have in your fridge.
Enlist the Help of Your Family Members
Meal prep should never be the job of just one family member. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you have teenagers that get home before you do, ask if they can prepare a meal a couple times per week. Remember, if they can read a recipe, they can cook!
Looking for more healthy recipes and diet tips to keep your weight-loss on track? Get involved with the Griffin Hospital Bariatrics Community for the comprehensive support you need on your weight-loss surgery journey.
Questions? Ask Kim!
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