Balancing Your Hectic Holiday Hunger Pangs
(Family Features) As the days get shorter and your holiday to-do list gets longer, spending time in the kitchen to prepare a nutritious, flavorful meal for you and your family can seem almost impossible. From buying gifts and entertaining guests to coordinating travel arrangements, sitting down to well-balanced meals often takes the back burner.
However, there is a resource that can help you easily balance nutrition and flavor during the hectic holiday season: the grocery store’s frozen aisle.
Nutrition and Convenience, Refreshed
The frozen aisle is constantly evolving to meet people’s dietary needs and taste preferences. A common misconception is that frozen food is processed or unhealthy. However, many frozen meals and pizzas include protein and farm-select vegetables. In a matter of minutes, you can have a delicious entree ready to be paired with your favorite vegetable or fruit side dish.
“When I’m short on time, I use frozen prepared meals and pizzas to get satisfying meals on the table quickly,” said Liz Weiss, registered dietitian, nutritionist and co-founder of the blog Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen. “I also take advantage of those precious extra minutes to assemble delicious and convenient side dishes, like a Broccoli Crunch Salad tossed with a yogurt dressing, dried cranberries and sliced almonds. It’s a great side for the holiday season.”
Shopping Smart to Keep Your Holiday Cheer
Consult the following check list to save time in the frozen food aisle:
- Check for Quality Ingredients: Real, high-quality ingredients in family-sized options, such as Stouffer’s Lasagna with Meat and Sauce, mean that you can quickly prepare and enjoy a delicious meal that you can feel good about.
- Play with New Flavors: It’s easy for families to get in a mealtime rut, so turn to frozen to expand your culinary repertoire. From chicken teriyaki stir fry and spinach artichoke ravioli to spicy beef and bean enchilada, there’s a world of exciting flavors available in the supermarket freezer case.
- Simplify Settings for One: For those long days that leave little time for cooking, quick single-serve meals, such as Lean Cuisine Vermont White Cheddar Mac and Cheese or Sweet and Spicy Korean Style Beef, require minimal prep time and pack bold flavor. Pair one of these with an in-season vegetable, such as carrots or Brussels sprouts, and in just minutes you have a flavorful, colorful, balanced meal.
- Pay a Visit to Produce: Frozen meals are versatile, quick to prepare and can easily be rounded out with fresh (or frozen) fruits and veggies to help you stay fuller, longer. The simpler the prep, the more time you’ll have to check off items on your holiday to-do list.
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