Feel like you’re fighting a losing battle to make tasty, healthy meals for your family? Tired of your kids clamoring for fast food? We’re here to help! With these three easy steps you can make healthy, delicious summer meals that your family will enjoy.
Choose the Right Meats
Meat-eaters, let’s talk. While it’s easy to build a meal around many different meats, be sure to choose ones with greater health benefits and to also evaluate your preparation. Lean meats, such as white chicken, roast turkey and fish, are all healthier alternatives to packaged hot dogs, salami and steaks. For preparation, don’t get out the fryer. Try baking your main dish instead. And of course, summer eating wouldn’t feel right without the grill. Give some leaner meats a chance at your next barbeque. You won’t sacrifice on flavor and you’ll produce a much healthier meal that your family will love.
Eliminate Processed Foods
Yes, they are convenient. But have you ever looked at the ingredient list on the back of the package? Nearly all of them are high in calories, and most have enough sodium per serving to last you an entire week. That much sodium can be dangerous. Studies have shown that high sodium intake can cause heart disease and may even lead to a stroke. By opting for fresh choices over your favorite frozen entrée for your summer meals, you can feel good knowing that your family is eating a healthy dish that’s high in vitamins and low on preservatives.
Still feel overwhelmed by the thought of cooking your summer meals from scratch? Try having your spouse or kids help you in the kitchen – it’s a great way to spend some quality time together that just so happens to make cooking and preparation fast and easy. And if you just don’t have the time to cook that night, try the slow cooker route. Simply toss your healthy ingredients in before work. When you return home, dinner is ready! You can also try one of these quick, easy recipes from Eating Well.
On a hot day, a cold dessert is the best part of summer meals. However, it’s usually chock-full of sugar and empty calories. To satisfy any sweet tooth while adding some nutritional value, try making fruit-based desserts instead of relying on dairy or chocolate. It can make a big difference – fruit sorbets can have half or even a third the calories of regular ice cream. Instead of ice cream bars or sandwiches, reach for fruit-flavored popsicles. You can also top your desserts with berries – try huckleberries for a uniquely Northwestern taste! If you’re looking for something even healthier, you can eat the berries alone with just a bit of honey. It’s a great healthy snack for kids!
Be sure to keep an eye on our food section here at Actively Northwest for great tips and healthy summer recipes that will leave your family wanting more.