Busy Families Can Be Healthy Ones

You are not alone. We all have had those days and weeks where we have great intentions to get everything checked off our to-do lists and have a family dinner at the kitchen table, but those intentions seemed to get waylaid often. We end up eating in the car between the kid’s activities and then falling asleep before we can touch our to-do lists.

Did you know establishing healthy habits can actually give you more time with your family? It may seem daunting and less important than the other items on your to-do list, but it’s a necessary habit to start. Establishing and maintaining healthy habits is essential for every member of the family since the prevalence of obesity isn’t limited to adults. In fact, more than one third of American children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2012 and over half of American pets have the same problem.

While it’s a better habit to eat without multi-tasking, sometimes having “go-to” items that are easy to eat during your commute can make all the difference in a day. So what can you do to make some quick meals and snacks that are pretty portable?

Breakfast Hacks:

  • Pre-portion cereal or granola along with some dried fruits and nuts. Add cocoa- or vanilla roasted nuts to an otherwise bland cereal. Diet hot chocolate gives us some calcium and vitamin D, and adults can use this low-calorie mocha recipe for your
  • Mix some peanut butter powder (found in health food stores, online, or in the peanut butter section at your grocery store) and a favorite low-calorie jelly together and spread on freshly toasted waffles, bagel, or muffin. Sandwiching the filling in the middle helps make them portable. On weekends, try to pre-make these pancakes and filling. Store the pancakes in the refrigerator for a few days or the freezer if you are making a larger batch. The filling can be stored in the refrigerator so you just have to roll them together in the morning. Wrapping them in foil can make them easily portable.
  • Microwave eggs with some frozen veggies and shredded cheese while toasting an English muffin to make a breakfast sandwich within a few minutes.

Snack Hacks:

Afternoon pick-up and evening traffic can aggravate even the most patient person, especially when you start the morning not knowing what the afternoon mood will be like.

  • A lot of pantry stable items can be stashed in the car or a backpack to reduce “hangry” frustrations. Individual pre-packaged cups of fruit, sugar-free gelatin, or pudding are the right amount of snack to be able to get home for dinner. Reduced sugar granola bars are another great option.
  • If you don’t have to worry about keeping perishable items cold consider cutting up fruits and vegetables or buying the individual bags that are easy to grab-and-go. Eating these along with some cottage cheese or peanut butter can help you feel full long enough to get home.
  • You may also enjoy freezing cups of sugar-free yogurt or yogurt tubes for an individual portion of a cold treat you can just pull out of the freezer and go. They work well in lunch boxes.

A quick snack can mean getting home in time to get a meal on the table. Afterwards, taking a family walk with the dog can make sure you everyone gets their steps in for the day.