Busy School Year Healthy Recipe Ideas

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Planning and preparing quick and healthy meals can be a challenge.  And I’m not just talking about the lunch box, either. Breakfast in the rushed mornings can be tricky and dinner on the run in between the school dismissal bell and the beginning of the practice whistle can also be challenging. 

So, I talked with my own manic family and we came up with some managed meal plans that we all can agree on.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like we can all use a little inspiration in the kitchen since we have to spend some much time in there feeding our families!

My Family’s Favorite Breakfast Burrito

I found a new kitchen toy that I’ve got to tell you about!  This cool tool enables you to make a healthier version of fries for your family, as well as many other meals.  I use mine to make all kinds of foods, including homemade home fries for our beloved breakfast burritos that are filled with egg, cheddar cheese, home fries and healthy salsa.  And I scramble the eggs with a little butter, onions and orange bell pepper.  The new contraption that turns my potatoes into delicious home fries is called the T-Fal ActiFry. 

The ActiFry is a multi-cooker that can stir-fry, slow cook faster than a crock pot, steam and more.  All recipes call for only one tablespoon of the oil of your choice.  So I toss my hand-cut tators in the ActiFry, drizzle on my 1 Tablespoon of heart-healthy olive oil, set the timer and then step away.  30 minutes later I’ve got perfect home fries that my entire family loves.  The ActiFry also comes with a cook book with recipes like yummy Chipotle Beef Chili.  See the segment to see me demo the ActiFry.  The T-fal ActiFry sells at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Amazon.com and www.tfal.com for $250.

Other Healthy Meal Ideas:


*In the lunch box, my son likes a special sandwich that my Mom used to make me when I was a kid.  Peanut butter, honey and banana slices on 100% whole wheat bread.

*My daughter enjoys a tortilla roll-up that calls for a little cream cheese, turkey and Baby Heirloom lettuce that comes from a local farm in Wilcox called Sunizona Family Farms.  I’m thrilled to find a lettuce that my daughter loves.  Plus Sunizona delivers weekly to a variety of local locations like Pomegranate Café in Phoenix and the House of Tricks restaurant in Tempe.  This pick-up program is called the FarmBox and there are several other locations that they deliver to as well.  For more information about prices, delivery locations and other details, check out their website at www.sunizonafamilyfarms.com.  I love this service and my family can’t believe the difference in taste when I bring home fresh produce and fruits from the FarmBox program.  Good stuff!

*For a healthier crunchy snack that can accompany a sandwich in a lunch box,  try a line called Good Health Natural Foods that include items like Apple Chips, Avocado Oil Potato Chips and Half Naked Popcorn. The Avocado Oil chips are my personal favorite because they are kettle cooked in all natural avocado oil, which is high in antioxidants. They are also gluten-free and have monounsaturated fats, which are the good fats. As a mom, I love this line! Sold at Trader Joe's, Sprouts Farmers Market and other grocery stores.

*For a quick and healthy dinner idea that my kids love, try black beans and cheddar cheese melted in a tortilla.  Put out a veggie tray and add some sliced apples and your family gets the protein in the beans, the calcium in the cheese, their veggie serving and a healthy and sweet treat with the apples.  And everyone gets out the door on time for that practice, rehearsal, lesson or meeting.

A Healthy Homemade Snack Bar from Pomegranate Café

And last but not least, I asked the healthy chefs and experts from Pomegranate Café for a nutritious snack recipe.  I love what they gave me to share with you. Almond Butter Krispy Treats anyone?  Here is how you make these delicious bars that are good for you and your kids, too….

Almond Butter Krispy Treats

3/4 cup raw almond butter
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 scant teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 1/2 teaspoon agar flakes
4 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal

1.  Combine the almond butter, maple syrup, and agar flakes in a large saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until smooth, hot, melted, and bubbling just a bit.

2.  Add the cereal and stir until well coated.

3.  Transfer to an 8 by 8-inch baking dish and press into place with a wooden spoon or a piece of waxed paper.

4.  Refrigerate until completely cool, then cut into 2 by 1 1/2-inch rectangles with a sharp knife.

**Makes 20 snack-sized treats

**From Pomegranate Café with recipe adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

What are some of your favorite healthy meal ideas for families that are on the run?  Share here in the comments section and remember to check my website at www.managedmoms.com for more recipes, beauty tips, pet pics and more!