Healthy living is a constant process. We exercise and are a very active family. We strive to improve as often as possible. But, like everyone, we falter. It’s super simple to reach for takeout on a night when we are frazzled and running. Meal planning goes out the door when we are racing from activity to activity and working at night too.
So, what is a busy family to do to help build healthy meal options weekly?
Well, here are a few thoughts. I hope they help.
Four Ways To Build Healthier Family Meals:
- USE YOUR WEEKEND – Do a Few Simple Things to Prepare for the week ahead. Brown some beef on the weekend and refrigerate for a day or two until you need it for the casserole. Wash the vegetables, maybe chop some too. Wash the fruit and place individual potions in small containers in the fridge. Take a moment to think about the week ahead and map out which nights are chaotic. Then make a plan for those nights.
- Get or use a CROCK POT, Slow COOKER or FAST SLOW PRO – I rely on these all winter long and during the weeks when we have Show Week, or when we’ve added an extra activity like Basketball after school.
- HAVE A FEW STANDBY RECIPES – These spinach and cheese stuffed chicken breasts are going right into the regular rotation. Chili is another one we make often and I make it a lean and healthy variation that’s also gluten free and low sodium. I can make big batches of that once a week or every two weeks all winter.
- DON’T FORGET TO GET CHEESE and DAIRY – We Like Gay Lea. I like their dairy options because they are low sodium and there are many that are also low fat. If you have low fat sour cream, cottage cheese and Ivanhoe Cheese stocked in your fridge often, then you have some high quality dairy staples that will help you build great meals and snacks all week. Plus these are time savers for me. If I need to make tacos quickly what item is it that I would run out of most? Sour cream. And having to race out mid week for more groceries – or even worse that one ingredient – is a time suck. Buy Gay Lea products like cottage cheese and sour cream and Ivanhoe cheese every week or two and you will save time and money.
We’ve come up with a few good habits to build healthy meals together. Keep lots of white meat options handy to help with health eating all week long. Pork and chicken are affordable and healthy meats. Have them ready to thaw. Use fewer prepared meals because there are too many additives, preservatives and sodium in pre-made store bought meals. Bake or slow cook big batches if possible. Use the leftovers another night, or freeze some for later.
These simple scrumptious spinach and cheese stuffed chicken breasts are a new recipe. I have been trying to add some more vegetables to some of our dinners and I know the kids love stuffed chicken breasts. The ones we sometimes get in the store are high in sodium and always breaded. But I thought I would try to make a healthier version at home. My version is gluten free, low sodium and made with lean white meat.
These spinach and cheese stuffed chicken breasts are pretty healthy options for a family meal. The spinach adds some iron and a serving of vegetables and of course the cheese makes them tasty. This particular Ivanhoe cheddar adds a grownup feel to the protein with a hint of smoky woodsy flavour. It is a really rich cheese taste-wise.
Here’s how to duplicate these simple and healthy spinach and cheese stuffed chicken breasts at home yourself.
PIN FOR LATER
- 6 to 8 chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- ¼ cup of shredded Ivanhoe smoked cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of Gay Lea cottage cheese (pick a light variation if counting calories and fat.)
- 1 teaspoon of salt free seasoning
- 1 cup of spinach uncooked
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Heat over to 350 degrees.
- Using a sharp knife cut a sideways hole in each of the chicken breasts just big enough to be a pocket for the stuffing.
- In a Bowl combine the cottage cheese and the grated smoked cheddar. Mix together with spinach and coat.
- Use a spoon to stuff each of the chicken breasts with about a tablespoon full of the mixture.
- Coat each chicken breast with olive oil.
- Top each of the stuffed chicken breasts with a salt free spice
- Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the chicken.
- Keep an eye on them so they do not dry out or stick.
- Remove and serve with salad and a side dish. (Lately we air fry potatoes and serve with many dishes.)
Gay Lea is a cooperative steeped in tradition. Gay Lea’s selection of cheeses are made of fresh, local dairy. Ivanhoe cheese, began over a century ago and has a reputation for its high quality, aged artisan cheddar cheese and specialty cheeses. As the oldest cheese company of its kind in Canada, it still remains a local attraction in the hamlet of Ivanhoe. In 2008, Ivanhoe joined with Gay Lea.
WHAT IS YOUR QUICK TIP FOR HEALTHY EATING DURING THE WEEK?
I created this post as a paid ambassador with Gay Lea Foods and PTPA for 2017. My opinion is all my own and it is truthful. I only work with brands I love and use.