Healthy Family Meals… in Just 10 Minutes!

Looking for healthy meals in a very short time without the expense of last minute prepared food items can be a real challenge for families.

One of the foundational rules for getting to a 10-minute meal is premeditation or the planning stage. The best day to stage your week is Sunday, using this day to prepare for those days that you know you’re going to need a simple and healthy choice for your family. Menu planning three to four days ahead can make a world of difference and prevent those last minute poor choices.

Getting Started

A way to get started is by developing six to eight menus from which you can select. For example if you know that one or two nights coming up will be especially busy you’ll have something to fall back on and prevent repeating yourself too many times in a month. If you are having difficulty creating your 10-minute menus next time you are on the phone with or emailing a friend, ask if they could send you a recipe that has worked for them in a pinch.

With your menus selected, choose to shop and prep in advance, and in some cases completely finish the meal so it only requires reheating on that busy evening. Also, consider multi-tasking on Sunday by prepping several dinners at once.

Another great tool that is returning to many households is the slow cooker or crock pot. If the vegetables and other ingredients are chopped and resealed in separate bags on Sunday, it will only take you five minutes in the morning to mix your protein, vegetables and stock allowing you to come home to a finished dinner. (Vegetable, beef and chicken stock can easily be pre- purchased to simplify this process.)

Ten-minute Recipes for the Family

The following recipe ideas are going to be nutritional, delicious and quick. These are the kinds of recipes that you want to keep on hand for those days when you know you’re not going to have time to take 30 to 40 minutes to prepare dinner.

Points to Remember

During even the most hectic of evenings your family will be able to eat healthy if you remember just a few important things. The first of which is that the most time consuming part of eating healthy is the prep work. This is especially true of chopping vegetables and precooking items, which makes spending a Sunday afternoon prepping two or three last-minute meal options an easy way to preserve your sanity and your family’s health.

Don’t forget that your kids can help with a lot of this prep work. Make it a family affair by getting your kids involved. Younger children can wash and drain the vegetables, while older kids (who can safely handle a knife) can be dicing, slicing and chopping those vegetables.

Also, your younger kids are going to love being responsible for handing you bowls, wooden spoons and measuring cups. This is a once-a-week opportunity to connect with your kids in a relaxed environment. You might be surprised to find that the benefits go beyond your family’s physical health.

Turkey Taco Salad

Using ground turkey, cook it thoroughly and add season to taste (taco seasoning can also be used). Place the cooked turkey in the center of a bed of lettuce (this can be pre-washed and bagged). A great addition to this meal is warmed or cool pinto, kidney, white or garbanzo beans. Garnish the plate with baked small taco chips, salsa for the adventurous ones to add it like a dressing, and a small amount of shredded cheese to top it off.

Three Bean Turkey Chili

This meal will take 10 minutes to warm and dress up but 45 minutes to prepare. On your prep day brown 1- 2 pounds of ground turkey and put it in a large soup bowl with olive oil. To this you will add the following:

  • 2 cloves or 1 TB of crushed garlic
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper
  • 2 (15 ounce) each kidney, pinto and garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 cup of corn
  • 1/2 cup of diced celery
  •  2 cups of vegetable stock or water
  • 28 ounces of whole tomatoes
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • Salt to taste

Bring to boil and then simmer for 35 minutes. Let it cool and store it for your upcoming week. Warming up your chili, this serving for 8 can also be a great after school snack. Garnish with baked chips and shredded cheese.

Chicken Wrap

Using a precooked chicken (you can pick it up that evening coming home or prep it on Sunday and store) slice and shred the meat. Then mix the meat with the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 cucumber cut into matchsticks
  • 3 TB of bottled vinaigrette
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Warm tortillas, wraps or flatbreads

Remember that gluten-free tortillas, wraps or flatbreads are available at most health-food stores and, to add more veggie count to this meal, consider adding a salad with a healthy salad dressing.

Beef and Vegetable Stew

Your prep time is less than 15 minutes, with cooking time being 4-5 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low in your crock pot.

Brown 3 lbs of cut chunks of boneless beef chuck in olive oil then add to the slow cooker the following healthy ingredients:

  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 pound of frozen pearl onions or 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 pound of baby carrots and chopped zucchini or mushrooms and squash can alsobe used
  • 1 TB of chopped garlic, Salt and pepper to taste

Additional ideas include adding 2 chopped bacon slices for flavor or 2 TB of tomato paste to thicken.

More information on eating healthy

Drs. Kris and Melissa Tocszak are dedicated to providing you with the absolute best in family wellness care and chiropractic in Vista, CA. So take a moment today to discuss with your Family Wellness Chiropractor any concerns you may have regarding your family’s nutritional needs.

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