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Healthy Meals for Busy Moms: Avoiding the Fast Food Rut

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It’s 5:30pm and you just picked up your kid from daycare. You know that by the time you get home and even begin to think about a healthy dinner it will be 6pm. That’s when the fast food temptation becomes very strong. You can’t help it- there are options on literally every corner these days. Inexpensive and fast, undeniably…but rarely ever healthy! 

But you know this. And that’s why you are reading this post. 🙂

So here are 5 fast and healthy meals that will solve the dinner dilemma on those hectic nights, using staples you probably have on hand or buy regularly. (Check out the handy grocery list at the bottom of the post!)

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Packed with protein, eggs are a great addition to any meal!

**Egg Fried Rice (serves 2)**

Ingredients:  4 eggs, 1 cup cooked brown or white rice, 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp butter, salt to taste, cooked veggies of choice (fresh or frozen).

Directions:  Crack the eggs and whisk them until just frothy. Heat large skillet to medium heat and melt butter. Add in eggs and stir until scrambled. Remove from the pan when they are still a tiny bit moist. Set aside.

Add the the oil to the pan along with the rice. Stir until the rice is warm (about 2 mins).

Keeping the rice in the pan, incorporate the eggs and the cooked veggies into the rice. Add salt to taste (note: you can also omit the salt and use soy sauce if you prefer).

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Cereal isn’t just for mornings! The cold variety is fortified with vitamins, and hot cereals are often packed with fiber!

**Oatmeal and Ants on a Bridge** (serves 1)

Ingredients:  Unflavored instant oatmeal (or quick cook oatmeal), unsweetened applesauce, cinnamon, raisins, nut butter, bread.

Directions: Prepare the oatmeal in a large mug according to package instructions. Add in one container of unsweetened applesauce (or chopped apples, or jelly) and cinnamon to taste. Stir it all up and add a few raisins to the top of the oatmeal.

Toast a piece of bread, then cut it diagonally into a long strip. Add peanut butter to that strip, and top with raisins.

Place the “bridge” across the top of the mug and serve the ant party to your kid(s)!

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Angel hair pasta cooks in 3 minutes! Throw on some sauce and call it spaghetti, or try this healthy one-pot soup that has veggies and protein!

**Pasta Soup ** (serves 2)

Ingredients:  *Angel hair pasta (8 oz), *3 cups low sodium chicken or veggie stock, 1 cup water, frozen veggies, 2 hardboiled eggs (or deli meat, or leftover meat).

Directions: Add the broth and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Break up the pasta sticks into thirds, and add to the pot, along with the frozen veggies. Boil (stirring occasionally) for 3 minutes, or until pasta is tender and veggies are cooked through but not mushy. Remove from heat, and add sliced egg (or leftover meat, chopped deli meat, etc.) to the soup.

*Note: You can use ramen packets instead of pasta and stock, and cut the salt by only using half the seasoning packet.

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Beans are a nutritional powerhouse with both protein and carbs! Healthy and tasty!

**Bean, Rice and Cheese Burritos ** (serves 6-8)

Ingredients: 6-8 burrito size flour tortillas, cooked white or brown rice, beans of choice (1 can of refried, or drained and rinsed pinto or black beans), 1 cup shredded cheese, salsa (optional).

Directions: Layer beans, cooked rice and cheese on the flour tortilla. Roll up in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds. Serve with salsa for dipping.

*NOTE: These freeze amazingly well too! Roll them up individually in tinfoil and freeze in a ziploc freezer bag. To reheat simply remove tinfoil and wrap in a damp paper towel. Microwave for 1 minute, adding additional time in 20 second intervals as needed until warm.

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Tuna is a healthy protein for a busy night’s meal. If you have a picky eater try this recipe! Kids won’t know what’s inside… but they’ll like it!

**Tuna Pinwheels** (serves 2)

Ingredients:  4 Burrito-size flour or whole grain tortillas, ½ cup shredded or 6 slices of cheese, 1 can of tuna, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, relish (optional).

Directions:  Drain the tuna, then add in mayo and mustard to desired consistency. Stir in relish if desired. Add ⅛ teaspoon salt and ⅛ tsp pepper. Mix well.

Lay one tortilla on a cutting board. Spread half the tuna mixture on the tortilla, to within approximately ½ inch of the edges. Top with ¼ cup shredded cheese (or 3 slices). Roll up into a tight roll, using a bit of water to seal the seam. Cut off the excess tortilla on the ends, then cut the roll into 4-6 even slices. Repeat with the second tortilla.

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*Busy Mom’s Grocery List for Healthy Meals!*

Eggs (12)- I often hard boil 6 right away

2 loaves of bread (freeze one)

2 packs large tortillas (freeze one)

Pre-cooked rice  

Angel hair pasta (or ramen packets)

32 oz of stock (chicken or veggie)

Frozen veggies (peas, diced carrots, corn)

2 packs of shredded cheese (freeze one)

Instant oatmeal or quick oats

Unsweetened applesauce or apples

Raisins

Peanut butter (or any nut butter)

Beans- refried and/or black beans

2 cans of albacore tuna, packed in water

 

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