It doesn’t have to be hard to make better choices. Here are simple ways to eat better, even if you don’t know your way around the kitchen. Remember, two food groups make a balanced snack, and three food groups make a balanced meal. Choose from fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein.
Snacks or breakfast on the run:
- String cheese and an apple
- Two tablespoons of peanut butter and apple slices
- Orange slices with yogurt (sprinkle cinnamon over plain yogurt for extra interest)
- Instant oatmeal with peanut butter stirred in
- Toast with banana slices
- Cereal, nuts, and raisins or dates
- Mini bagel with light cream cheese
- English muffin with a hard-boiled egg
- Chocolate milk and a banana
- Whole grain cereal with milk
- Frozen fruits blended with yogurt (smoothie)
- Frozen veggies cooked in low sodium broth and served with whole grain crackers or toast
- Grilled cheese sandwich (whole grain bread, 2% milk cheese)
- Scrambled egg with spinach and reduced fat feta cheese
- Canned black beans, drained and rinsed, added into mixed greens/romaine, topped with reduced-fat shredded cheese, salsa, and avocado
- Baked potato topped with black beans, salsa, cheese, and low-fat sour cream
- Sweet potato mixed with Neufchatel (reduced-fat cream cheese)
- Ham and brie on toast served with grapes on the side
- Frozen mixed veggies stir fried with precooked frozen shrimp (thawed) and served over brown rice; low sodium soy sauce as desired
- Soup made with low-sodium boxed broth or bouillion, frozen veggies rice and leftover chicken or other meat
- Homemade pizza made with whole grain premade crust, topped with salsa or marinara sauce, canned, drained mushrooms, sliced black olives, bell pepper strips, and part skim mozzarella cheese (microwave or cook in oven to crust package directions)
- Panini sandwich: your choice of lean deli meat, slice of cheese, veggies (bell pepper, tomato, lettuce, onion) with balsamic drizzled over veggies; use cooking spray or olive oil in pan if desired, or simply toast bread and assemble sandwich
- Pasta primavera: cook noodles to package directions; microwave frozen veggies and add to jarred sauce; warm, then combine with pasta; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese as desired. Add in cooked shrimp or cooked lean ground beef as desired
- Cut up chicken into bite size pieces, then cook in a pan on stove top. Once fully cooked, add cooked rice, canned, diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning, sliced mushrooms, and broccoli or spinach. Cook until veggies are heated through and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella or other cheese.
- In a bowl, add mixed greens or other lettuce, and top with cooked lean ground beef, cheese, salsa, beans, black olives and jalapenos as desired.
- Shred rotisserie chicken and add it to a bowl of romaine lettuce. Top with a reduced-fat Caesar dressing and serve with a whole grain roll. Offer fresh fruit on the side to complete the meal.
- Make tomato soup with milk and serve with a grilled cheese sandwich and an orange on the side
- Make an omelet with eggs, chopped veggies (whatever you have on hand) and cheese. Serve with a whole grain English muffin or mini bagel.
Here’s to fast and easy better choices for you and your family!
Kim Kirchherr, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, FAND