With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, your family might find it challenging to enjoy a nice, quiet dinner together.

Putting a healthy dinner on the table and making it one your children will enjoy is not as hard as you might think.

Have a “do it yourself” assembly line-style night where everyone builds their own meal.

Set out ingredients for family favorites such as burgers, tacos, chili, rice bowls or sub sandwiches. Then, let each family member go through the line to make their dinner.

For example, grill lean burgers and place them on a plate. In separate bowls, put toppings like tomatoes, lettuce, low-fat cheese, guacamole and onions. Most children enjoy the independence and “control” of putting together their own meal.

Think outside the box. Dinner does not always have to consist of a “main course and two sides.” Dinners can be composed of entrée salads, casseroles or stir-fry meals.

A one-pot stir fry is as easy as heating oil in a skillet, adding fresh or frozen vegetables and stirring in leftover chicken. Serve over brown rice for an instant, complete meal!

Breakfast for dinner? Absolutely! Eggs are a great source of protein and when topped with shredded low-fat cheese adds calcium and vitamin D to dinner. Turkey bacon is also an excellent alternative to high-fat bacon ... for a source of complex carbohydrate at dinner try whole-wheat toast, whole-grain pancakes or waffles and fresh fruit.

Leftover night can be fun ... especially since multiple leftover options can be exciting for kids.

Select several items (not older than three days) to serve and let the family create an entrée combination they will enjoy.

Leftover night is a great way to empty your refrigerator and reduce clutter; plus it ensures your family limits the amount of food wasted. Some foods, such as lasagna, may actually taste better the next day.

Reconsider recipes with long cooking times as they can be deceiving. Many of these dishes can cook on their own while you are out for the day.

Crock pots are excellent ways to come home to a great meal; add ingredients before leaving in the morning, set to low heat and serve when the family is home.

An alternative is to roast a whole chicken in the oven with vegetables while you complete other household tasks during the day.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at carey.stites@smchh.org.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.