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Nutrition Tips from

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to get some great nutrition advice from Holley Johnson Grainger, M.S., R.D., Food Editor, A lot of my questions felt mom-specific and revolved around eating well, but fast and not spending a ton of money. One thing I’m really struggling with right now is feeding myself lunch. Now that preschool is out and it’s summer, I have found that my routine needs some rethinking.

Busy schedules and routine adjustments make it easy for me to fall into the trap of on-the-go snacking (string cheese, a handful of crackers, chips with salsa, etc.) rather than sitting down for a healthy lunch. I feel like I really need that opportunity to sit down, relax and enjoy a meal, but I need help figuring out how to make time for that opportunity.

As I read Holley’s responses I realized that her suggestions are great and practical ideas for anyone – not just moms. Some of the ideas might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget and feel stuck in your routine. Thanks Holley and the team for your time and smart suggestions!

Readers – Now it’s your opportunity to submit questions of your own. What have you always wanted to ask a Registered Dietitian? You’ve got the chance now, just leave your questions in the comments and Holley will be back with answers to your questions. – OR – Do you have a tip to share with the rest of us?

I’m sure many, like me, get tired of sandwiches day after day. What are some easy ways to incorporate lots of flavor and unique meal ideas with little prep time?

Salads are always a favorite and it seems that I can always find leftovers in the fridge to throw in. I love green salads piled high with chicken breast, nuts, veggies, fruit, beans, and/or cheese but what have you ever thought about a grain salad? A favorite that I make quite often and takes very little time to prepare is Mediterranean Chicken Couscous. The couscous “cooks” while I chop my chicken then I just throw everything together. The recipe makes about 8 cups and holds for a few days. If couscous isn’t your thing, feel free to use regular pasta (consider using half whole wheat and half semolina) then add veggies, meats, and cheese.

What ingredients do you recommend keeping on hand for quick throw-together lunches?

Peanut butter, bananas, and bread-Seriously, I have a bad addiction to PB&B on soft white bread. Yum!! If you want to graduate from the basic peanut butter and jelly and need something fast try jazzing your everyday turkey sandwiches up by adding fresh veggies like avocado and alfalfa sprouts and try hummus or even cranberry sauce instead of mayo or mustard. Try a pita or tortilla instead of basic sandwich bread. That way, you are still staying in what you know and is quick and comfortable, but you can get more pleasure eating it.

As far as specific ingredients go, rotisserie chicken from the grocery store can save a ton of time and can be thrown in a salad, into soup, on a sandwich, used in quesadillas or fajitas, made into chicken salad, formed into chicken cakes, etc. There are SO many uses for one simple item. Here’s a link to some of our favorite rotisserie chicken recipes: 7 Ways with Rotisserie Chicken and a how-to video on cooking with a rotisserie chicken.

Being a mom is an exhausting job. How can I fuel my body with each meal so I can keep up with my go-go-go kids without crashing in the late afternoon?

Make sure to get a little bit of fat, fiber, and protein each time you eat a meal or a snack. This trio of nutrients will help give you the late afternoon boost you need to keep going.

Moms love inexpensive, but it’s easy to buy convenience food. What’s the best way to find a middle ground between the two while still eating healthy?

  • Don’t buy a lot of prepackaged, processed foods. These are often more expensive and usually high in sodium and/or fat.
  • Eat less meat and more veggies. Meats and poultry are often the most expensive items in the grocery cart, so if you include some all-veggie meals each week, or prepare things such as stir-fries or pasta dishes that have small amounts of meat or poultry, you’ll save some money.
  • Buy produce that’s in season. You can usually get a better price on fresh veggies and fruits when they’re in season and also if you shop at a farmer’s market.
  • Keep your pantry stocked with healthy choices so that when it comes time for dinner, you have something to make and are not tempted to resort to fast food which is usually expensive and not as healthy.

Do you have any other advice or resources to help busy moms approach daytime meals? Or perhaps a favorite lunch recipe you’d like to share?

We recently featured a story called 7 Secrets to Easy Meal Planning that has some very helpful tips for our moms. Here are a few of my other favorite links that are LOADED with recipes:

Creamy Vanilla Apricot Sorbet with White Chocolate Almond Bark
Roasted Chicken, Brie, and Apricot Panini on Rosemary Foccacia
Roasted Chicken, Apricot, and Brie Panini


Thursday 18th of June 2009

My daughter isn't a huge fan of milk and quite honestly neither am I. What are some other foods/beverages that you would recommend to make sure we are both getting a good amount of calcium and other nutrients found in milk?


Thursday 18th of June 2009

I do have a question. My husband was born and raised in southern Louisiana. I'm from northern Illinois. His mom puts onions, garlic and bell pepper in almost every meal. He also said he drank a lot of milk coming up. I can not understand for the life of me why he almost never gets sick when everyone else in the house does. Is it from all that good stuff he ate as a child, or do you think it's somehow gentic.


Wednesday 17th of June 2009

Looking for the ideal snack(s): quick, easy, cheap, and energizing. I wish I could send my husband to work with something to keep him feeling good throughout the day.


Wednesday 17th of June 2009

I am frequently anemic - the iron kind. What foods are high in iron but don't cost a fortune to add to my shopping list? THANKS!

Tamara B.

Wednesday 17th of June 2009

I am having a hard time finding cooked vegetables that my children will eat. They do eat about three serving of fresh fruit a day but is that enough?