Like many busy parents, I know the difficulty in feeding your family a healthy meal when you’ve been out at work all day and get home tired and hungry. The impulse is to snack (maybe on junk food) until dinner is finally ready (and you’re already full from snacking) or you simply order high-calorie, take-out. But this isn’t how it has to be. With proper planning, you can get home from work, feed yourself and your family a good healthy meal, and not be ravenous.
One suggestion is to make more “double-duty” dinners. These are dinners that you make once, but make enough for two evenings (or you can use the ingredients two nights in a row). These types of dinners are great for foods that taste good as leftovers (which not all foods do!). Usually these foods are casserole or one-pot dishes with meat (or meat substitute) that won’t be dry the next day.
The one down-side to these types of one-pot meals, is that they can add a lot of fat and calories if you depend on them solely to fill you up, or you prepare them using fattening methods. However, you can avoid both of these pitfalls by first adding a lot of easy to prepare foods that are naturally low in calories (like salad, raw vegetables, and fruits), adding broth soups, and baking rather than frying. For example, if you make a casserole dish, stick with one piece (about 1/12 of a 9×13 pan) and fill the rest of your plate with a tossed salad, and even add some fruit with dinner or for dessert, and possibly a broth soup, if needed. This dinner can be quick to make and eaten two nights in a row, saving you time and calories.
Here’s a great recipe to get you started.
Healthy Eggplant Parmesan
2 Eggplant, large, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ slices
Whole Wheat, Panko Italian Breadcrumbs (you can add your own Italian seasoning if you can only find plain whole wheat or you can use whole wheat seasoned)
3 eggs, beaten
Spaghetti Sauce (36 oz., about one and a half jars)
Fresh Mozzerella (or shredded, if you prefer) (10 oz)
Fresh Basil, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Fresh Parmesan, shredded
Olive Oil, use an olive oil sprayer, if you have one
Prep time: about 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is preheating, dip the eggplant slices into egg mixture, allowing the egg to drip off the eggplant, then place the eggplant into the breading and coat. Place breaded eggplant slices onto greased cookie sheets and bake in oven 5 minutes each side.
Place a small amount of spaghetti sauce on bottom of 9 x 13 baking pan (just enough to coat the bottom. Remove eggplant from oven and layer eggplant, sauce, and fresh mozzerella. Repeat layers until pan is full. Top with chopped basil and parmesan cheese.
Bake in oven about 30 minutes. Serve with salad and eat for two nights! If you have a big family, just double the recipe and make two pans at once.
TIP! If your family is hungry, eat the salads while the eggplant is cooking! You could also start off with a fresh fruit salad or even a fruit sorbet!!
You could make this on your day off from work and it’s ready to eat the next day! You can also freeze this (make sure its well covered) and bake it later in the week.