By: Kirsten Rice, Health and Fitness Director for the Fox West YMCA
If you are like many families, you get home from work, and your whole family wants dinner 20 minutes ago.
One misconception about healthy eating is that it is costly. Healthy food is more nutrient-dense than some prepackaged food, therefore allowing you to actually be eating less, which is better for your body and your wallet.
Now that being said, it will take a little bit of work to get started. But it will be well worth the effort spent upfront for the time and money saved throughout the week and all the health benefits you will gain.
- Meal plan, food prep and stick to it!
This is the number one way we fall off track right away. Set aside some time to actually plan out what you are going to eat for the upcoming week. Think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and don’t forget snacks. Find recipes your family will enjoy, and read the recipes thoroughly to make sure you have everything you will need. What do you already have in your pantry that you can put together? What needs to get used up in the fridge? Do you have a busy night where you need dinner to be ready when you get home? Use different themes to plan out meals. Try using your leftovers to plan out the next day’s lunch or dinner. Have a “try a new vegetable” day and plan the meal around that. Try to get different types of proteins, vegetables, carbohydrates and fruits and make your meal plans around that.
- This tip leads right into the next; cook at home.
Once you have done your grocery shopping for the week you should be good to go. Before going to bed the night before, take a look at what’s on the menu for tomorrow and prep what you can to make making dinner the next evening easier. Chop your veggies, thaw and/or pre-slice your meat even pack your lunches ahead of time. Every time you are making a meal at home you can be saving time and money.
- Shop the sales and the seasons.
Know when certain stores have their sales on meat, seafood and proteins and stock up. Freeze larger purchased proteins in smaller packages so they are ready to go for fast thawing and using. Foods that are in season will be more affordable than those foods that are harder to get at a particular time of year.
Enjoy this recipe using spring and summer vegetables!
Asparagus Sweet Potato Chicken Skillet
YIELD: 4 TOTAL TIME: 35 MINS PREP TIME: 15 MINS COOK TIME: 25 MINS
This Asparagus Sweet Potato Chicken Skillet recipe is a delicious, healthy, and easy-to-make meal that will be on your dinner table in less than 30 minutes. This is gluten-free, paleo, and perfect for your busy weeknight dinner.
- 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground fresh black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
- ½ cup chicken broth or water
- ½ lb (225 g) fresh asparagus (the spears should be cut at a diagonal in 1- and 2-inch pieces)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
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- On a plastic board, cut the chicken into small pieces and season with salt and pepper.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic, and chicken.
- Sauté the chicken for about 7-10 minutes or until it is cooked through. Don’t forget to stir well. Set chicken aside.
- In the same skillet, add sweet potato and chicken broth.
- Cook for about 7-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked.
- Add asparagus and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
Yield: 4, Serving Size: ¼ Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233 Total Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 99.3mg Carbohydrates: 9.1g Sugar: 2.3g Protein: 32g
Kirsten Rice is the Health and Fitness Director for the Fox West YMCA. She has her degree from Michigan State University in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Health Promotion Specialization and has been in the field for 17 years. As a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor her passion is helping people find what will work for them.