Healthy, Quick Alternatives to Fast Food

Recipes and Food
Facing the weekday frenzy and looking ahead to another week filled with dance, gymnastics, hockey, swimming lessons, music, skating and no time for healthy meals? Deb Lowther has some great ideas.

Facing the weekday frenzy and looking ahead to another week filled with dance, gymnastics, hockey, swimming lessons, music, skating and no time for healthy meals? Tempted to hit the drive thru and tell yourself next week you will be on top of dinner or this weekend you’ll fill every meal with vegetables to balance it out?  It is not easy to get a healthy hot meal to the table, never mind the back seat of the car, when you are literally eating on the run!

Throughout the course of the day it is important to get something from all the food groups that include fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy and meat and alternatives. If it’s a day that is booked with after school activities, try to add extra fruits for breakfast and nutrients at lunch to take the pressure off during the dinner rush.  Have a stash of pre washed and cut up peppers, celery, carrots, green beans and even corn to add to any on the run meal. Then try some of these quick dinner options that include protein, dairy and vegetables that are quick to prepare and easy to eat on the go.

Healthy Fast Foods

Scrambled Egg Roll Ups

Scramble eggs with added egg whites or cottage cheese for extra protein, then add in finely chopped cauliflower.  They will never even notice! Scoop into a whole wheat wrap, add salsa or ketchup and roll it up. Toss in a container and hand out on the go.

Tuna Melts

Use whole-wheat English muffins and top with tuna and a little melted cheddar. Broil until heated and cheese is melted, then toss in a container for a hearty car snack.

Gourmet Grilled Cheese

Invest in a panini press for the healthiest version of grilled cheese that grills perfectly without any butter. Inside two pieces of 100% whole wheat bread add a slice of tomato, lean meat, real cheddar cheese and heat through. For added protein, dip the bread in egg first and make french toast, then add cheese and grill. Who doesn’t love grilled cheese?

Chicken/turkey/tuna helper

It takes only 8 minutes to cook whole-wheat egg noodles and by adding a can of tuna, green peas, parmesan cheese and cream of mushroom soup after draining the noodles, you have a complete meal in under 10 minutes. If you can do a little prep work on the weekend, these great  make ahead meals can be frozen in individual portions for super fast grab-and-go options.

Make-Ahead Fast Food Tips

Meal in a Muffin

So many great meals can be made entirely in a muffin tin! Meatloaf, quiche, lasagna, pizza and more made ahead, individually frozen and then re heated in time to head out the door!

Vegetable Soup

Soups are ideal for packing in the vegetables and being a quick healthy meal.  Add less liquid for a thicker soup that easier to eat while at the arena or in the car. Make ahead of time and freeze in individual containers for a quick on-the-run option.

Crustless Quiche

Skip the crust and add in the secret filler of cottage cheese and cauliflower and you have a complete meal that freezes well. This is one of my favorite recipes on this list of kids’ favorites transformed to be healthy that I make and freeze in slices, easy to defrost and makes a filling meal pre dance practice.

Fabulous Mac n Cheese

Every kids favorite is transformed into a healthy meal that includes whole wheat, dairy, protein and vegetables they don’t even know are there! Make your own sauce with flour and butter, adding milk until it thickens then add in grated cheese and pureed squash, cauliflower and zucchini! Make extra sauce that you can freeze so all you have to do mid week is boil noodles and you are ready to go.

Veggie Red Sauce

Kids love pizza but plain crust and cheese doesn’t offer a ton of nutrients, boost your sauce with puréed vegetables and add vitamins to any pizza melt on the run. Start with your jar of favorite sauce and add in your own pureed veggies then freeze in ice cube trays to have just the right amount ready for pizza melts on the go.

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