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Easy Meals for Busy Moms

Janel F.
JANEL F.
Registered Dietitian
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Had your fill of holiday sweets? Ready to get back on track, but not sure where to start? Tinyhood Registered Dietitan, Janel Funk, is here to support you.

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JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Frozen dinner alternatives?
YAMILA

I've been stuck in a rut since going back to work, and need some help in the kitchen. I feel awful about continuing to serve my family frozen meals! Do you have any quick recipes?

Janel
JANEL

If you have the basics on hand, you can always come up with something in a pinch! Keeping your pantry stocked with dry goods like brown rice and quinoa, as well as canned beans or chickpeas, and then having loads of frozen veggies on hand means you can always come up with a balanced meal of rice and beans with frozen peppers and onions mixed in - toss in some salt and taco seasoning and you have a mexi-inspired meal! Rotisserie chicken is a great protein source to have on hand - you can pair it with some frozen veggies (fresh are great too, but it sounds like you need easy solutions!!) and some potatoes you cut into wedges and roast in the oven. You can also make things like tuna sandwiches with a side salad using canned tuna, or purchase frozen meatballs and heat them up with tomato sauce, whole wheat pasta, and chopped fresh spinach mixed in. If you're a fish fan, keep frozen fish filets on hand as they can go right from freezer-to-oven, and you can pair it with some veggies and a grain. At the beginning of the week, you can also make a big batch of rice or quinoa to have on hand, and prep veggies (either wash and cut so they're ready to cook, or roast them so you just have to reheat at mealtime). Then you just need a protein to pair with it. DIY mini-pizzas are fun and healthier than the frozen variety - get whole wheat english muffins and top with pizza sauce, cheese, and some of those prepped veggies I just mentioned.

Sometimes recipes are overwhelming, because you feel you need to have every single ingredient on hand in order to follow it correctly. Instead, I encourage you to have basic meal components on hand (frozen veggies, pre-cooked grains, frozen meatballs, canned tuna, rotisserie chicken, etc) so you always have the right things to make a meal. Certain sauces, condiments and spices are also key.

Before you go grocery shopping each week, come up with a handful of meals you'll have throughout the week, then write your list according to that, and prep as much as you can BEFORE the busy workweek starts. It's more work up front, but you'll be so glad to come home to prepared meals you just have to heat and eat that are nutritious and home made.

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Recs for a quick breakfast
KAREN

We're stuck in a slump when it comes to breakfast. My lo and I simply rotate through yogurt, waffles, cereal and milk, and cream of wheat. Any suggestions for spicing things up?

Janel
JANEL

Hi Karen - Breakfast is such a common meal for a rut! To start, you don't have to have "typical" breakfast foods for breakfast - anything goes! That includes leftovers, turkey sandwiches, etc. What about eggs? They're so versatile in that you can put any combination of veggies/cheese in it to change the flavor. I love making spinach and feta egg muffins by making a huge batch of scrambled eggs with chopped spinach and some cheese, then divide the mixture into muffin tins and bake so they're individually portioned and ready to reheat. You can eat as-is, or in a breakfast sandwich. You can also make breakfast burritos, avocado toast, oatmeal with nuts/dried fruit, baked oatmeal, use quinoa in place of oatmeal and mix in nuts, dried fruit and brown sugar, make muesli by letting oats/fruit mix with creamy yogurt and sit in the fridge overnight - then you can enjoy it cold. There are fun pancake recipes you can find online that are very basic with just mashed banana and egg (and maybe some cinnamon or salt mixed in - just search "2 ingredient pancakes") that you can make big batches of and freeze for later. I hope this helps!