With school bells ringing and family schedules filling up, it seems like some days we meet ourselves coming and going. It is those times when a quick and easy dinner menu is needed that will not get you off track from healthy eating. The rewards are two fold; besides eating healthier your family will save money by eating at home.
Keeping versatile foods in your cupboard can help you be ready whenever those busier than usual days happen. Here are some examples from each of the main food groups:
* Fruits – Besides having a variety of fresh fruit available in the fridge, don’t overlook many kinds of fruit canned in water or juice. Also dried fruit can provide a quick grab and go snack.
* Vegetables – Fresh is best, but when certain vegies are not in season, choose from a large assortment of frozen vegetables or those canned without salt.
* Whole grains – There are many whole grain choices on the market. Consider using oats, instant brown rice and whole grain pastas.
* Protein – Lentils are quick cooking and full of protein. Also keep many kinds of canned beans, tuna, mackerel, or salmon on hand as well as a jar of peanut or other nut butter.
* Dairy – Instant dry milk or evaporated milk are good things to stock in your pantry.
* Spices and herbs – Keep a few favorites on hand for variety, along with flavored dry vegetable broth or bouillon cubes.
Here is a ”fix it fast” menu idea using only a few cupboard-stored foods.
Italian Tuna Pasta (makes 4 servings, 1 cup each)
2 cups cooked and drained spaghetti, macaroni or other whole grain pasta
5-7 ounces canned mackerel or tuna, rinsed & drained; then shredded
14.5 ounce can of diced or stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon each: dried oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder.
One serving of this provides 170 calories and just 2.5 grams of fat. One cup has approximately 375 mg of sodium, 5 grams of dietary fiber and 13 grams of protein.
For information about family life including health and wellness issues you may contact: Donna Krug, Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. You may reach her at (620)793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org