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 Nutrition  HolisticOnline.com

Nutrition Infocenter

Weeknight Meal Help

By Erin Rogers

Does it seem like you never have the time to serve healthy meals during the week? Do you rely on takeout, the pizza delivery man, macaroni and cheese? If you learn just a few new techniques and tips, you can be on the road to easily planning and preparing healthy meals for your family with very little effort and time. You'll feel better and you'll also be teaching your kids good habits that can last a lifetime!

Make and keep a list of the quick and healthy meals you can pick up right from the grocery store.

Here's a few to get you started:

* Roasted chicken, bag salad, whole wheat French baguette

* Chicken Caesar salad (don't buy the kit - you don't want the dressing they'll give you)

* Turkey bacon BLT's, vegetarian baked beans

* Deli meat sandwiches on whole wheat rolls, or tortillas with baked tortilla chips and deli fruit salad

* Refrigerated pastas and sauces, salad, breadsticks

* Frozen filled pastas are another option. My grocery store has a frozen Portobello Mushroom ravioli that's delicious and low-fat. I just boil and add some sauce and a steamed vegetable.

* Baking potatoes - cook them in the microwave and serve with steamed broccoli, and light sour cream; add a premarinated chicken breast or piece of fish if you like. These take just a few minutes to cook.

* Lean Cuisine frozen stir fry meal, add extra veggies

* Gardenburgers, topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado with baked potato chips and a salad.

* Fajitas - marinate chicken in lime juice overnight (or buy premarinated chicken breasts), buy a bag of frozen, sliced bell peppers and onions. Serve in tortillas with your choice of condiments.

Homework

Now see what else you can find at your grocery store! Find a time when the store isn't busy (late at night is usually good), and when you can spend some time going up and down aisles searching for healthy choices. Different grocery stores offer all kinds of different freshly prepared or pre-packaged foods that are good options for busy nights. You'll probably find the most ideas in the deli, produce, refrigerated pasta, freezer and meat/seafood sections. Keep a list as you're going through, and then keep it with you in your purse or daytimer (or on your PDA!) - the next time you have to stop on your way home from work with a hungry family waiting, you'll be prepared!

Related Information: Holisticonline.com Healthy Recipes Infocenter for recipes on healthy foods from around the world.

Erin Rogers, a work-at-home mom of two, is the founder of Health-E-Meals.com, providing practical healthy living resources for busy people. She's also the author of the Healthy Express Cookbook: 101 Fresh, Light & Quick Dinners (http://www.health-e-meals.com).  Erin can be reached via email at erin@health-e-meals.com.

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