Eating less food, more frequently and eating healthy can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. I know there are foods that are quick and easy to grab and go and they may not be the most nutritious of foods. Through my undergraduate studies and especially in my Masters program, I went through many nutrition classes. However, prior to working here, I was not very good at employing that knowledge in my day to day life and with my kids.
I have two kids and both are in sports and extra-curricular activities and we are constantly on the run, so I understand the necessity of eating on the run and grabbing whatever is quick and easy. However, in April I got a real “wake up call” with regards to my son’s cholesterol levels. At his well-child exam I was told he was not eating a healthy enough diet and that his cholesterol was borderline elevated. This was quite a shock to me and I felt like a horrible mother failing my child!
In this blog, I am going to give you nutritious meal suggestions and show you it is possible to eat healthy even on the run. We recommend our patients eat 5-7 small meals per day and I am recommending you do the same. Below you can find ideas of meals for you and your family. You can check out other healthy recipes on the Egg Beaters website. You can also find meals specific to your needs and healthy choices through Emeals. This is a website where you sign up for recipes and meal ideas to be emailed to you on a weekly basis. You just tell them about your family size and meal preferences. There is a fee for this service, but it is fantastic and makes meal planning and preparation much more simple. I have used this in the past and loved just about every recipe I received. Pinterest is another great source for finding delicious and healthy recipes.
Breakfast Ideas: each meal’s approximate calorie count is listed (calories will vary based on specific brands/products you use)
Greek yogurt with hand full of nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc), coffee with low calorie flavored creamer (approx. calories 210)
Egg beaters (25 cals/serving with 5g of protein)/egg whites (25 cals/serving with 5g of protein) with vegetables (red peppers, mushrooms, onions) and shredded low cal cheese, slice of whole wheat toast, and an orange (approx. calories 250)
Whole wheat sandwich skinny (bread) with Canadian bacon and low fat cheddar cheese, and a banana (approx. calories 325)
Whole wheat pancake (1-5″ diameter) with light syrup (if needed) or cover with fresh blueberries/raspberries/blackberries/strawberries (berries should make it sweet enough you won’t need the syrup), turkey bacon or turkey sausage and coffee (approx. calories 275)
Mid-morning meal ideas:
Greek yogurt with handful of nuts (approx. calories 150-200)
15 Baby Carrots (52 cal)/broccoli(2 cups, 40 cals)/cauliflower (2 cups, 50 calories) with hummus (3 TBSP, 70 calories)
Celery (4″ long strips x 10, 6 cal) with peanut butter, (Jif creamy 2 TBSP, 190 cal)
Low fat string cheese stick with 2 cups of blueberries (approx. 250 cal)
Mixed green salad with grilled chicken and low-fat/low-calorie dressing and broth-based soup (approx. 340 cal)
Tuna salad with light mayo and eggs on whole wheat bread (1 slice), mixed fruit and baby carrot sticks (approx. 350 cal)
Grilled chicken breast, 1 cup mixed vegetables (cooked or grilled), and an apple (approx. 315 cal)
Grilled/cooked fish (salmon, tilapia, etc), whole grain brown rice, side salad or broccoli (approx. 370-410 cal)
Midafternoon meal ideas:
3-4 cups of reduced fat/reduced calorie popcorn, cheese stick or low fat shredded cheese of choice on popcorn (approx. 180 cal)
Greek yogurt with handful of nuts (approx. 150-200 cal)
Mozzarella reduced fat cheese stick wrapped with lean deli mean (several slices) (approx. 180-200 cal)
Hard boiled egg, carrots and hummus dip (approx. 180 cal)
Plain greek yogurt and cup of mixed berries (approx. 170 cal)
Protein bar or protein shake (varies approx. 250-300 cal)
Lean ground beef or ground turkey, whole wheat pasta and pasta sauce, side salad with reduced fat dressing (approx. 350-400 cal)
Grilled fish or chicken, grilled asparagus, mixed cucumber/tomato salad with light/low calorie Italian dressing (approx. 400 cal)
Taco salad: mixed greens, lean ground beef/ground turkey with taco seasoning, tomatoes, low fat shredded cheese, plain greek yogurt, yellow corn (approx. 400-425 cal)
Broiled/grilled pork tenderloin, baked sweet potato (skinless), strawberries (1 cup sliced) (approx. 400 cal)
I have listed several meal ideas and the approximate number of calories for each meal. Now lets talk about some ideas for snacks for children, because if your kids are like mine, they are picky and probably won’t eat a lot of those things.
Snack ideas for kids:
Baby carrots and low fat/low cal ranch dip
Peanut butter (as long as there is no peanut/nut allergy) on whole wheat bread and 2 cups sliced strawberries
Yogurt (freeze it and let kids eat as ice cream)–strawberry, blueberry, mixed berries, etc and hand full of nuts on the side (as long as they do not have a peanut/nut allergy)
Wheat thins/wheat cracker with slices of low fat cheese and an orange
Fruit (cut/sliced) of any kind in baggies
Vegetables (raw) of any kind in baggies
Homemade protein shake: 1 banana, 1 cup of almond/skim milk, 1/2-1 cup of ice, 2 teaspoons of peanut butter, and 2-3 teaspoons of Nestle Quick powder (tastes sweet and is nutritious and filling)
Whole wheat tortillas spread with peanut butter and bananas or plain greek yogurt and covered in granola and berries and then roll it up
I hope this blog helps you in finding healthier alternatives to your current meals and helps get your children making better choices. Keep in mind, healthy eating for the entire family starts at home. Our children watch us closely and take in everything we do, not just what we say. It is becoming easier to make healthy choices while eating out with various salad choices, baked potatoes or other vegetable options, fruit cups, etc. One BIG thing I would suggest when eating out is to get rid of the bread and buns! This will help cut out a lot of calories and carbohydrates from your diet. If you do eat out, ask the server to remove bread baskets from the table; if you order a sandwich, remove the bread or bun and eat what’s on the sandwich without the bread. By removing half of a bun, you will cut your “bun calories” in half! Have a great day and here’s to eating better for your health!