Healthy Living: Dinners on the go

It’s spring, which means outside events, sports, and other activities are in full swing. Many times, families are so busy, that dinner is an afterthought. Dinners that are “home-prepared” can still be just as healthy as “home-cooked”. Here are some tips for on-the-go meals:

- Make Your Own.

o Create your own healthier lunchable by including all food the food groups in the divided sections of a lunch box. Pair whole grains with lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables for a balanced meal.

o Wrap all the food groups up in a whole grain tortilla for easy eating.

o When you are really pressed for time, pack snack foods to tide you over. Focus on a lean protein and high-fiber carbohydrate, which will help you keep you fuller longer and give you energy.

- Frozen Meals. Frozen entrees or meals are often high in sodium, but when you are in a bind, look for these characteristics in a healthier frozen meal: 1) 500mg or less of sodium and, 2) high in fiber and protein. Frozen meals are often too low calorie for a meal especially for active teens, so add an additional serving of fruits or veggies to make it more balanced and filling.

- Mason Jars. Mason jars are perfect for combining food groups in a simple container that goes with you.

o Enjoy breakfast for dinner: Overnight Oats: Combine oats and low-fat milk, allow to sit in the fridge for a few hours and then top with nuts and fruit. Frittata: bake a combination of cooked turkey sausage and veggies like kale, spinach, peppers, and mushrooms with whisked eggs and milk.

o Lighter fair: Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt with berries and granola or honey roasted chickpeas. Smoothie: Prepare ahead of time, pour into jar (leaving room for liquid to expand as it freezes) and store in freezer. Remove when you need a quick meal!

o Salad-in-a-Jar: Make your own creation with salad veggies or zoodles (zucchini noodles). Add a protein such as beans or chicken. Put your heartier veggies on the bottom so fragile ones are less likely to wilt.

o Layered Burritos: Mix leftover cooked chicken, rice, beans, and a fresh salsa for a festive on the go meal.