The school year is fast-approaching for my little family, and may already be in session for yours. With this change of seasons comes the hustle of the morning routine.
Two different kids off to two different schools and a teenager who hates eating breakfast, unless its served after 11:00 a.m.
I know I can’t send him out the door with an empty belly or a Pop-Tart clutched in his fist, so I did a little research and I think I found a few tweaks we can make to our schedule, and compromise foods that will make us both happy.
Come on, Mom, just 5 more minutes.
As children get older their sleep patterns change. Teens fall asleep later so the snooze button (slash mom’s forgiveness) gets pushed to maximum capacity until finally there is no time for breakfast. To combat this, I’m instituting a decent school night bedtime and declaring that NO electronics will be allowed in his room past that time.
School is back in session and parents, you know what that means. It’s time to drag out the superhero and princess lunch boxes and pose the question you’ll be asking hundreds of times this year, “What do you want for lunch?” At DietsInReview, we want to help you branch out beyond PB&J and fill those boxes with healthy delicious food your kids will be bragging about in the cafeteria.
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What’s for dinner is the most impossible question to answer on our best nights, but during the chaos and rush of back to school it feels nearly hopeless. Adjusting to new schedules and adding extracurriculars to an already crammed-tight calendar and you’ve got a recipe for another drive-through dinner.
This year, don’t sweat it. Put prioritizing dinner on your back to school list. Any of these dinners can be thrown together and in the mouths of your hungry family in 30 minutes or less. They’re also healthier meals you can feel good about serving. And in many cases you can eat them on the run.
We may not change how you see dinner as a necessary evil, but we can certainly take the devil out of the details!
Mexican and Southwest
For meatless Monday or exclusive vegetarians, hearty black beans and mushrooms melted together with cheese is simple and satisfying.
Fire up the grill and you’re only 30 minutes away from the best tacos ever! Buy pre-shredded coleslaw to really save prep time.
Mexican Stuffed Peppers – Barr and Table
These peppers use protein-rich quinoa instead of rice and can be prepped and served in just 30 minutes with on-hand ingredients.
Biggest Loser has a homemade chorizo recipe that tastes and looks like the real deal but is much better for you (just make it in advance).
The kids can practically make these themselves and will love every last comforting bite.
Meatloaf in a Mug – My Recipes
Individual meatloaves are made in minutes in the microwave. Not only are they adorable, but they practically make themselves.
This drive-thru favorite is better than ever when you use panko to get that crispy crunch the kids crave.
It takes only 30 minutes to roast a tenderloin, which you can then shred, toss in your favorite BBQ sauce, and serve!
The sandwich shop has nothing on our effortless meatball subs, made lighter with ground turkey. Serve in hot dog buns for tiny hands.
Chili in 30 minutes is possible. The pumpkin adds delicious nutrition without influencing the flavor much at all.
Mediterranean Chicken, Pear, and Arugula Stuffed Pitas – Fit Bottomed Eats
Our original recipe for FBE starts with a store-bought rotisserie chicken for the ultimate in hand-held, get-out-the-door meals.
We use Applegate Farms ham, turkey, and bacon to craft a cleaner sandwich that’s finished with avocados and veggies.
This grilled panini sandwich presses turkey and cheese together for a super-quick, hot and ready dinner.
It doesn’t get any easier – we fold almond butter with banana slices and sprinkle a few dried cranberries.
Super Sloppy Joes – Meal Makeover Moms
This family favorite is made lighter with ground turkey and always gets two messy thumbs up from the kids.
Meals On a Stick
Maple Ginger Chicken on a Stick – Green Lite Bites
Make the marinade in the morning and dinner is literally minutes away when you get home. Roni says kids will eat anything on a stick!
Shrimp, sausages, and peppers take less than 15 minutes on the grill.
A Jillian Michaels creation that is super family friendly and way better than any frozen fish stick in a box.
Hand-held burgers without the bun are stuffed with gooey cheddar cheese and a bit of jalapeno pepper for big flavor.
Stuffed Almond Butter and Jam French Toast Kabobs – Nibbles by Nic
It’s breakfast for dinner in a whole new way! You could even add bites of ham to the kabobs if you’re looking for more protein.
Pasta and Noodles
An Abra Pappa original that uses less, but higher quality cheese and a butternut squash puree for a kid-approved mac!
Creamy Avocado Pasta – In Good Taste
One of our very favorite 15-minute dinners. Prepare it meatless or top with shrimp.
A super simple homemade soup that easily fills thermoses for feel-good brown bag lunches all week long!
It’s a no-noodle pasta dish and they’ll never know the difference! More nutritious and just as fast as a heap of spaghetti.
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli – Picky Eater Blog
Turn a package of store-bought ravioli in to a quick and easy feel good dinner the kids will rave about!
Breakfast for Dinner
Prosciutto and Apple Waffle Paninis – HelloGiggles
If you’ve made the waffles in advance, or have frozen available, the prep time on these is dramatically reduced!
Biggest Loser’s Chef Devin Alexanders rolls all-beef hot dogs in buttermilk biscuits.
Cornbread Waffles – Edible Perspective
Prepare these heartier waffles with our oven-baked chicken tenders for a better take on chicken and waffles!
Egg and Kielbasa Sausage Pizza – Kid Friendly Home
The eggs form a breadless crust that holds kielbasa sausage, fresh herbs, and both cheddar and parmesan cheeses.
Carrot Cake Pancakes – Grimmway Farms
We crafted these using Grimmway’s famous baby carrots. Topped with cream cheese and walnuts, they’re quite satisfying.
Our “new year” hummus will bring good luck to your pupils. Serve with warm pita and fresh veggies for an easy, filling dinner.
Another winner of a dinner from Chef Devin, these wontons bake up in minutes and are easily eaten on the go.
Mediterranean Fish Tacos – Food Network
A Rachael Ray original that takes only 30 minutes to prep and serve and offers a lighter, cooler meal for those hot and busy nights.
Chinese Potstickers with Turkey – Super Healthy Kids
If you’ve got about 20 minutes, a food processor, and a pot of boiling water, you’ve got time to make a super lean take-out-inspired meal!
The grilled cheese is all grown up! We make it better with real mozzarella, fresh basil, and juicy tomatoes.
Keep it all organized! Download our FREE meal planner worksheets HERE!
Doughnuts have been stuffed with chocolate, jelly, and cream for as long as doughnuts have been baked. They’ve even been used as buns to hold burgers with bacon and fried eggs. None of those are really great for you. In fact, we named that 1500-calorie Krispy Kreme doughnut burger by Paula Deen one of the worst things she ever did to food.
But we liked her innovative culinary spirit. We liked where her head was, and we also just like doughnuts like everyone else. We kept the eggs, bacon, and ditched the glaze and beef. What we whipped up, and can’t wait for you to try, is the ultimate in breakfast sandwiches – bacon, eggs, and cheese all stuffed inside our lighter cake doughnut.
It’s the Ultimate Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Stuffed Doughnut.
It’s savory. It’s salty. It’s a little sweet.
It’s also LESS than 200 calories. One whole doughnut weighs in at 194 calories.
Students are going back to a healthier school environment this year, as schools continue to advance Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Last year, USDA added more fruit, vegetables and whole grains to the school lunch program. This year, those healthy advancements extend to school vending machines and school stores. Expect to see more of the foods we should encourage – whole grains, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and leaner protein – and less of the foods we should avoid – sugary, salty and fatty items. Read the guidelines in Smart Snacks in School, the USDA’s guide to the new nutrition standards.
Download this Printer Friendly Version for your home or classroom.
We took those guidelines one step further by translating them into brand name foods to help busy parents and even teachers know what to look for at the store. Our list contains only foods that meet the new standards. There are no cookies or soda (too much sugar), nor meat jerky (too much salt), and several snack bars didn’t make the cut because they exceed the 200-calorie limit. While our list doesn’t include every acceptable packaged food on the market – and let’s make it clear, we love snacks made at home from healthy, fresh ingredients – we hope our list will help school administrators, teachers and parents to identify better-for-you commercial snacks that are more apt to promote our kids’ healthy lifestyles. (more…)