Between driving the little ones to and from school and sports practice, and making sure the household is in order, finding the time to plan and prepare quick, healthy meals might very easily slip your mind. We don't blame you! We know how crazy life can be. That's why we spoke with Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, who shared with us her advice on minimizing your time spent in the kitchen, as well as some of her favorite healthy, quick dinner and snack recipes the whole family is sure to enjoy.
First thing’s first. When you’re planning your weekly meals, there’s no need to make seven different breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week. Instead, follow Jackie's advice and think three! Make it easier on yourself and only plan three breakfasts, three lunches, and three dinners. Put those on repeat for the week, and you’ll find that you’ve effectively cut a significant amount of time and effort in the kitchen. Jackie also recommends stocking your kitchen with multi-purpose sealable containers and baking dishes that are safe in the microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher in order to simplify meal prep and streamline clean-up.
Jackie's Dinner Ideas for the Family
Soft Taco Bar - Line up taco-sized tortillas and plenty of choices for filling—anything from grilled chicken strips, refried beans, and sautéed bell peppers, to onions, cheese, guacamole, and salsa. That way, you can minimize your prep time while still offering a customizable dinner option the whole family will love.
Pasta alla Checca - Toss spaghetti or any pasta of your choosing with a generous amount of diced fresh tomatoes, diced mozzarella cheese, chopped fresh basil leaves to taste, and a dash of olive oil and salt. Not only is this a refreshing, meat-free dinner, but it’s super quick to prepare and only requires one dish!
Breakfast for Dinner - Who says that breakfast should only be served in the morning? Certainly not us! Create a fun, easy dinner by frying some eggs and serving them alongside whole grain toast, poultry sausage, avocado slices, and a lemony vinaigrette side salad. You could also transform this meal into an entrée salad by adding the fried egg, avocado, and sliced sausage coins to the salad and dicing the toast into croutons.
Jackie's On-The-Go Snack Ideas for Your Little Athletes
Popcorn Snack Mix - Mix some popped popcorn with salted pistachios, dried tart cherries or cranberries, and a few dark chocolate chips.
Deconstructed Ants on a Log - Another simple, yet deliciously healthy snack! For this, all you need to do is separately pack up celery sticks, peanut butter, and raisins. Enjoy this yummy snack by dipping the celery into the peanut butter and then the raisins. Now if the little ones have a nut allergy, you can substitute the peanut butter with tahini, sunflower butter, pea butter, granola butter, or something else of your choice.
Cocoa-Peppermint Power Patties - Blend pitted dates, hemp seeds, shelled roasted pistachios, almond or cashew butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peppermint flavor, and sea salt on low in your food processor until the mixture is well combined but still has some texture. Roll the mixture into 12 balls and then flatten into patties. You can refrigerate the patties for up to one week, or freeze for up to two months.
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN is a Brooklyn-based plant-forward registered dietitian nutritionist, classically-trained chef, professional recipe developer, media personality, spokesperson, food writer, private plant-based cooking coach, and award-winning cookbook author. Some of her cookbooks include The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook: The Whole Food Approach to Great Taste and Healthy Eating, and 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes. For over 20 years, Newgent has been a healthy culinary instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education.
With her wealth of nutritional knowledge, Jackie has you covered with simple, healthy dinner and snack ideas. Now it's our turn to help you out with some kitchen essentials! See below for some of our favorite Ascot Manor Kitchen Talk Basics items.
NOW IT'S TIME TO CRUSH THE WEEK. YOU GOT THIS! #TENNISLIFESTYLE