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Quick Healthy Meals for Busy Families

Feeding a family is no mean feat. Follow these tips to whip up quick healthy meals in a flash.

Fast, Healthy Breakfast Meals continued...

Start your day right with these balanced meals good for the entire family:

  • Whole-grain toast topped with 1 1/2 ounces melted reduced-fat cheddar cheese; 1 cup cubed fruit
  • 1/2 whole-wheat English muffin with 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese; medium banana; served with milk or decaf fat-free latte
  • Mini whole wheat bagel spread with almond butter; 1 cup plain Greek yogurt mixed with ½ cup frozen pureed berries
  • Nut butter pancake roll-ups: microwave two small frozen pancakes and spread with 2 tablespoons nut butter; ½ cup grapes; serve with 8 ounces 1% low-fat or fat-free milk
  • Whole wheat English muffin egg sandwich: Layer ½ of the English muffin with a sliced hard cooked egg, ¼ cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and top with other half. Microwave until cheese is melted.
  • Plain oatmeal microwaved with milk instead of water and topped with ¼ cup California raisins and 2 tablespoons chopped almonds
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon on 1/2 whole-wheat bagel with low-fat cream cheese; 1 cup berries; serve with 8 ounces 1% low-fat or fat-free milk
  • 8 ounces coffee-flavored yogurt with 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ cereal mixed in; plum, nectarine, or apple
  • Egg and pita sandwich: 1 egg scrambled in 1 teaspoon olive oil stuffed into small whole-wheat pita pocket and topped with 2 tablespoons salsa and ¼ cup shredded reduced-fat cheese; serve with 8 ounces calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice
  • Breakfast parfait: Layer 1 cup low-fat yogurt; ½ cup crunchy whole-grain cereal; and 1 cup fresh, chopped fruit, or whole fresh or frozen berries
  • Banana smoothie: In a blender, combine 1 cup 1% low-fat or fat-free milk, 1 medium banana, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ,and 1 ice cube. Blend well and drink immediately. Serve with 1 slice whole grain toast.

 

For Quick, Healthy Meals at Dinner, Plan to Succeed

No matter what the meal, planning is paramount for preparing quick and nutritious dishes. “It’s important to have all the ‘ammunition’ you need in your cabinets and fridge for healthy meals,” says Taub-Dix.

Salge Blake recommends to “get it and forget it” by shopping for food on a regular basis. Scrambling for ingredients wastes time and causes frustration, especially at dinner.

“Everyone thinks it’s so time-consuming to plan, but you actually waste time by not planning,” she says.

A well-stocked kitchen doesn’t mean you need to make every dish from scratch all the time, however.  

“Although I adore cooking and baking, I don’t always have the time to make everything every day from scratch, and I often rely on convenience items, such as frozen vegetables and store-roasted whole chicken with a few side dishes when time is tight,” she says. 

Taub-Dix likes to do “makeovers.” She prepares a meal, then uses the remaining food to create another dish the next night.

For example, she roasts a turkey and serves it one night with sweet potatoes, red bliss potatoes, and green beans. The next night, Taub-Dix combines the leftover turkey, green beans, and potatoes with frozen vegetables, prepares a simple low-fat sauce, and tops the entire mixture with frozen puff pastry dough to make a turkey potpie.

Cook once, eat twice is also Salge Blake’s advice. She recommends preparing a double batch of chili or beef stew on the weekends and using the leftovers for the next few days.

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