Your Nutrition: 5 Ways To A Faster Meal (The Back-To-School Edition)

Print icon

Between Jonathan’s track meets, Lily’s dance classes and baby Rose’s swimming lessons, it may seem difficult to plan healthy meals and snacks. Here are five simple tips to streamline meal prep and have healthy choices ready during the back-to-school rush.

1.  Take the effort out of weeknight meals by setting aside an hour or two on the weekend to chop vegetables and fruit, measure spices and mix marinades. When the ingredients are measured and the vegetables are already chopped, dinner can be ready in less than 30 minutes.

2.  Find your Zen with slow-cooker meals. On the weekend, dump the raw ingredients for slow cooker recipe(s) into heavy-duty freezer bag(s), label and freeze until needed. These freezer meals will keep for at least 6 months. On cooking day, add the frozen ingredients to the slow cooker along with a little broth or water, and you will come home to a wholesome dinner.

3.  Build one of these quick, balanced breakfasts packed with brain-boosting nutrients such as choline, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and zinc will help children concentrate and excel.

  • A breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, black beans, spinach and a little ham and cheese inside a 6-inch whole wheat tortilla is an example of a delicious, portable breakfast that is packed with brain-boosting choline, iron and zinc.
  • A yogurt bowl or parfait with layers of nuts, seeds, dried or fresh fruit and granola provides omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Try adding walnuts, ground flaxseed or chia seed, which are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

4.  Pack a smoothie for a light dinner before evening sports begin. To make a smoothie, choose frozen whole fruit for the base, then add milk or yogurt, baby spinach and healthy fat from peanut butter, almond butter or avocado. Blend until smooth and thin to desired consistency with milk or a non-dairy alternative. Tip: Freeze a big batch in ice cube trays for easy, anytime smoothies.

5. Try these nourishing no-cook mini meals that can be prepared days in advance. Missing out on lunch can lead to evening cravings and could even effect a child’s performance in evening sports. So have these balanced meals ready to go:

  • Sandwich skewers are a hit even with picky eaters. Simply layer grapes, whole grain pitas wedges, lettuce, cooked chicken or deli meat, cherry tomatoes, cheese and cucumber slices onto wooden skewers. Serve with your child’s favorite dressing such as balsamic or ranch. These are a hit even with picky eaters.
  • Portion hardboiled eggs, vegetables, ranch dressing, grapes, whole grain crackers and cheese or yogurt into single-serve plastic containers.
  • Stow mini whole wheat pitas filled with chicken, sliced apples, spinach, cucumbers and cheese in sandwich baggies so they are ready to go.
  • For a quick Tex-Mex-inspired meal, mix the following in a large bowl: black beans, cooked veggies, brown rice and salsa. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of low-fat cheese and extra salsa.

Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network, a not-for profit member of Hartford HealthCare offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, sports medicine and health & wellness programs.  With over 35 locations across the state, it is Connecticut’s top rehabilitation provider.  Please call 860.696.2500 or click here for more information.


What's New

Cancer/Yoga

A Healthier You: Upcoming Classes, Events in February

Got a bad  case of cabin fever? Snap out of it with upcoming classes on Medicare Advantage, surgical weight loss, youth mental health first aid and car-seat safety for mothers-to-be. That’s only a sample. Find a support  group that might help you, too. For a complete schedule of classes and...

Holiday Stress

Don’t Let Stress and Depression Interrupt Your Holidays

By Nicholas Arsenault Transitional Care Nurse, Hartford HealthCare at Home For many, the holidays are a time of togetherness, giving and being around those we love and cherish the most. But sometimes the holidays can bring about feelings that limit how much you enjoy this time of year. Stress and...


State, Hartford HealthCare Start Home-Safety Program for Seniors

Hartford HealthCare has joined forces with the Connecticut Department of Social Services’ Protective Services for the Elderly Program (PSE) and Foodshare to create a home-safety initiative for Connecticut seniors. The goal? To ensure at-risk seniors are safe and receive needed services, while also addressing food insecurity. This collaboration allows the...

Mature man in health class

A Healthier You: Upcoming Classes, Events in January

Don’t slow down, just because winter’s coming. Learn about joint replacement, art therapy, grief self-care and Medicare 101. That’s only a sample. Find a support  group that might help you, too. For a complete schedule of the rest of this month and January, click here

Diabetes

Free 12-Week Diabetes Prevention Program Includes YMCA Membership

With more than 1 million people diagnosed annually with Type 2 diabetes, a program sponsored by Hartford HealthCare and the Southington Community YMCA has proved successful in helping individuals manage their condition – before they get diabetes. Participants in the free 12-week Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Program have reported reduced...

Palliative vs. Hospice Care

What’s the Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care?

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and the team from Hartford HealthCare at Home wants to help those in need of these services make the right decisions during what is a critical time for them and their loved ones. Hospice and palliative care offer compassionate care to patients...