No one really sets out to feed their family an unhealthy meal. But, it happens. The reason it happens is usually pretty simple – we're busy.
Maybe we forgot to go grocery shopping or worked late and couldn't get dinner started as planned. Maybe the family eats in shifts and it's a struggle to keep up.
Or, maybe we just don't know what to make. Whatever the reason, a healthy diet may not be happening right now.
But, that doesn't mean you can't find ways to get more nutrition on your table. The good news is, it doesn't require investing a lot of money, time, or research to figure out simple ways to serve healthy meals on a busy schedule.
One of our all time favorite approaches to putting healthy meals on the table is to use ‘superfoods' as often as possible. These foods are called superfoods because they are ‘nutrient dense,' meaning they are loaded with lots of good stuff in a relatively small package.
There are many of these nutrient rich foods that are inexpensive and easy to serve, which is exactly what your busy family needs.
Let's take a look at a few favorite superfoods to help you get started today feeding your family simple nutritious dishes, without spending a lot of time or money.
Sweet PotatoesThis is a high energy, nutrient packed food that satisfies even the hungriest person at the table. Sweet potatoes are so versatile. Just wash them up, cut a slit in the skin, and bake them just like white potatoes until they are soft.
Then cool slightly and scoop the insides out into a bowl. Or you can make french fries, soup, casseroles, or dice and boil. Serve them sweet or savory to suit the tastes of your family.
In just one cup of cooked sweet potato, you get 7 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein. You only get 3 calories from fat and they are cholesterol free.
This same cup of cooked sweet potato also gives you 65% of your recommended daily value of vitamin C and lots of B vitamins and minerals.
But the most amazing nutritional powerhouse is found in the vitamin A you get – over 700% of your recommended daily value! Stock up and dig in. This is one super-loaded, super-cheap, super-food you don't want to miss.
Canned White TunaIf you've steered away from tuna in a can because you have bad memories of that stinky, oily stuff in school casseroles, it's time to come back. White tuna, albacore tuna, when canned in water is fresh and delicious tasting.
It flakes nicely and has none of that texture or smell that might be haunting you. You can use white tuna in salads, casseroles, and even stir fry.
When you have a hungry family staring at you from the table, you will be glad you have some of this tasty fish on hand.
We know fresh fish is nutritious, but what about canned fish such as white tuna?
Well, you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that in one small can of white tuna, you will be receiving a whopping 41 grams of protein.
Along with that good news, you'll also be happy to hear about the generous amounts of niacin, B6, and B12, along with a tremendous amount of those lovely Omega-3 fatty acids we need for optimum health.
Don't let your memories of canned tuna scare you away. Stock up on white albacore tuna and enjoy this nutrition dynamo.
Cooked Brown RiceBecause we're talking about nutrition for a busy family, we can't forget about one of our favorite quick ingredients – cooked brown rice.
I emphasis the ‘cooked' here because it just won't do for this conversation to have to wait for long grain brown rice to cook. And you don't want to cheat and use par-boiled or other quick cooking rice, because the very nutrients you want in this super-food are removed in order for the rice to cook quickly.
Use only long grain brown rice, the stuff that takes about 40 minutes to cook. The trick here is to cook up several batches and put them in the freezer.
It lasts for a long, long time and is ready in minutes when you are. You can even microwave the cooked rice to speed things up. Mix cooked brown rice with any nutritious food for a very fast and filling meal.
Brown rice has lots of nutrients to offer, along with the wonderful texture, of course. This is a complex carb, which means it's slow burning, providing lots of energy over a long period of time.
You'll find only 15 calories from fat in a one cup serving, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of protein, and a healthy supply of vitamins and minerals.
Brown rice is a very good source of manganese, which is important for bone health, skin health, blood sugar regulation, and has even been found to fight asthma.
Pile your family's plates high with long grain brown rice and you have an excellent base for nutrition at a very reasonable cost.
These are just 3 examples of reasonably priced superfoods to introduce to your family.
Even the busiest families can put these nutrition powerhouses on the table quickly and with little preparation or fuss.
And, isn't that what we are all looking for? Feed your hungry family fast without missing out on all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy!
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