Believe it – or not – We’re back to school!

Let’s eat healthy this school year!

It’s still hot and muggy outside here in Cville. We’re still wanting ice water over hot tea. And we’re all still wearing our shorts and sandals instead of sweaters and scarves. The other day, walking downtown, we saw the first red leaf on the ground, and were reminded that the start of the school year is somehow only one short week away!

That means early morning buses, packing lunches, running around, and generally less time to make a healthy dinner for your family. But fear not! We’re here with our top 5 helpful ideas to get a healthy dinner on the table!

  1. Start a weekly menu. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or even all that detailed, but having a list of ideas and sticking to it will really help! You don’t have to buy all your groceries in one go, or prep everything in a mad freezing frenzy on Sunday, but having a schedule will take the pressure off of you during the week. If you have a few favorites slot them in, then add a few new favorites, or schedule a night of takeout. You’ll have less of those “What’s for dinner?” moments.
  2. K.I.S.S. Method. Keep it simple on weeknight meals! Aim for quick, easy meals, you don’t have to be Chef Gordon Ramsay (all the time). Choose recipes that have a total prep & cook time of under one hour. Try to limit the number of special ingredients you will need. We even think it’s great to pick a protein and a vegetable and just cook them simply. We recommend stir-frys, fajitas, and kebabs as simple options. Cutting up larger cuts of meat or vegetables makes them cook faster, and let’s them take on more seasoning, too!
  3. One pot/pan wonders. We love a good soup or stew, especially as we move into cooler months. They are easy to make healthy, filling, affordable, and can be made in just one pot! Sheet pan dinners are simple to make, healthy, easy to clean up, and provide plenty of food for the whole fam! We love the 5 ingredient method of The Kitchn for sheet pan dinners. The internet is loaded with healthy one pot/pan ideas so search around and find some inspiration!
  4. Leftover remix! We pick some of our meals just for the leftovers. Some are great just reheated, some take on a wonderful new life in a new dish! Those fajitas from the other day? Great filling for quesadillas tonight! Your pesto noodles from Tuesday? Add some vinaigrette and chopped veggies on Wednesday for an instant pasta salad!
  5. Keep some healthy-ish SOS meals on hand. No matter how well we plan, or how fast we are cooking, there are going to be days where it just isn’t working out. We recommend keeping some SOS meal options on hand for just such occasions. We like whole grain pasta with tomato sauce or a frozen pesto, whole grain mac and cheese, frozen lean white-meat chicken nuggets, low-sodium canned soups, and frozen peas or vegetable blends as quick-cooking, low-fuss meal options. We also like breakfast for dinner: whole grain, low sugar cereals with 2% milk, yogurt and granola, or scrambled eggs all with a side of fruit are great options!