It can be a struggle to prepare a nutritious meal the whole family will enjoy. Finding time to spend around the table during back-to-school season can be particularly challenging, but not impossible.
Actress, chef and mother of two Haylie Duff has a few expert tips and tricks for crafting nutritious meals on a time crunch.
1. Use pre-made ingredients to reduce prep time.
Keeping the fridge stocked with pre-made ingredients is a simple time saver. Adding ingredients such as pre-cut vegetables or hard-cooked peeled eggs to on-the-go snacks or family meals is an easy way to boost the nutrition of a recipe without all of the prep work.
2. Plan a meal-prep day each week
Preparing meals ahead of time to pull from the fridge or freezer and pop into the oven will help save time and reduce stress. Setting aside a couple of hours once a week to plan and prepare meals can make the school week more relaxed. Plus, planning means more time around the table with loved ones during mealtime.
3. Add slow-cooker recipes to your weekly routine
On busier days, let a slow-cooker do all the work. You can make tasty recipes, such as roast chicken with steamed veggies, a quiche or a healthy pasta dish. Simply put the ingredients in the slow cooker and fire it up. In the meantime, you'll have more time to spend playing with the kids or helping them with homework.
4. Stock up on quality, versatile ingredients
It is so important to nourish children with top quality ingredients such as Eggland's Best eggs, which are packed with superior nutrition compared to ordinary eggs at the grocery store. These eggs contain more than double the vitamin B12 compared to ordinary eggs, which helps transform food to energy to keep the entire family energized throughout the day. They also contain six times more vitamin D, 25% less saturated fat, more than double the omega-3s and 10 times more vitamin E.
For a make-ahead snack the whole family is sure to enjoy, try these Buffalo Deviled Egg Bites from the American Heart Association and Eggland's Best.
Buffalo Deviled Egg Bites
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon hot wing sauce (lowest sodium available)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon finely crumbled low-fat blue cheese
1 tablespoon chopped celery
* To hard cook the eggs, gently place them in a large saucepan or pot. Add cold water to cover the eggs by 1 and 1/2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, remove the pan from the stove.
* Let the pan stand, covered, for 12-15 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan. Allow them to cool before peeling.
* Carefully cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Place the egg halves on a work surface.
* Transfer the yolks to a medium bowl. Add the mayonnaise, hot-wing sauce, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. The mixture should be smooth.
* Spoon the yolk mixture into a resealable plastic bag. Clip the corner of the bag. Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg white halves.
* Sprinkle the blue cheese and celery on top of the filling and enjoy!
Eggland's Best is a national supporter of the American Heart Association's Healthy for Good movement and is encouraging consumers to try out the recipes available at recipes.heart.org.