(Family Features) When youâ€™ve got a lot on your plate, it can be hard to put wholesome, great-tasting food on your familyâ€™s plates. Planning meals around simple, tasty ingredients can make mealtime a lot easier on you – and a lot better for them.
When grocery shopping, think simple, colorful and natural:
Simple Ingredients – Simple often means delicious.
- Cheese can be used as a snack, on sandwiches and salads, in main dishes – itâ€™s a versatile, family-friendly ingredient. Take advantage of free samples at the grocery store to try new varieties.
- Pasta makes meal time super easy. Try tiny orzo in soups, corkscrew pasta in homemade mac and cheese, and spaghetti.
- A Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich using Welchâ€™s Natural Fruit Spreads, natural peanut butter, and 2 slices of whole wheat bread is less than $1.00 a sandwich. Welchâ€™s Natural Spreads come in Concord Grape, Strawberry or Raspberry, are all natural, with no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial colors or flavors. Add a glass of low-fat milk and a piece of fruit, this is a protein packed and budget-friendly snack. For a twist on this classic meal, try these recipes for Peanut Butter and Jelly Pita, or PB&J Parfaits.
Add Color to the Menu – Incorporating colorful fruits and vegetables not only adds great flavor, but plenty of good nutrition, too.
- Buy extra red, green, orange and yellow bell peppers when theyâ€™re on sale, as well as white onions, then chop up and freeze some for later use.
- Apples come in yellows, greens and lots of reds. They store for quite a while, so buy plenty for snacking on whole, or enjoying in this recipe for a tasty PB and J Pita.
- Dark-skinned purple and blue fruits tend to have more natural antioxidant power than their lighter-skinned counterparts. Look for eggplant, plums, raisins, purple potatoes, and fresh grapes. 100% juice made with Concord grapes is another way to add purple fruit to the diet and to liven up your day.
Naturally Healthy – Whole foods bring a lot of nutrition to the table.
- Get some good protein from nuts and lean meats. When you grill chicken, grill up a few extra pieces to be used in a salad or sandwich the next day. Sprinkle almonds onto your salad or morning oatmeal for an extra energy boost.
- Whole grains are an easy way to get everyone to eat a little better. â€œMulti-Grainâ€ isnâ€™t the same as â€œwhole grain,â€ so make sure the label lists whole grains first in the ingredients list.
- Herbs are a terrific way to add flavor without adding sodium or calories. Kid-friendly herbs include thyme, oregano, parsley and rosemary. Sprinkle some on oven-baked potatoes for an easy side dish.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Parfaits
Makes 4 servings
Â½ Â cup Welchâ€™s Natural Grape or Strawberry Spread
1 Â¼ cups nonfat vanilla yogurt
Â½ cup natural chunky or creamy peanut butter
1 cup crunchy granola cereal
1 medium banana, sliced
1 cup sliced strawberries
Microwave jelly, in a microwave-safe bowl, at high 30 seconds or until melted. Drizzle 1 tablespoon down sides of each parfait glass; set aside.
Combine yogurt with peanut butter in medium bowl. Spoon Â½ of peanut butter mixture into each parfait glass. Top each with 2 tablespoons cereal, then Â½ of the fruit; repeat. Drizzle with remaining jelly. Garnish, if desired, with mint leaves.
PB and J Pita
Makes 1 serving
3 tablespoons Welchâ€™s Natural Concord Grape or Strawberry Jelly
3 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
1 8-inch whole wheat pita bread, toasted if desired
Â½Â cup chopped apple, sliced banana and/or raisins
Evenly spread peanut butter and jelly on pita bread. Top with apple and raisins. (Source: Welchâ€™s Foods, Inc.)