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In the evening, the last thing anyone feels like doing is cooking. Arranging meals for an entire family takes time and effort and can seem impossible after a long day. Luckily, we have tips to save you time and energy when preparing healthy meals for your family. We have great ways to ensure you're making the most of your commissary grocery shopping and efficiently spending your time in the kitchen.
Read on for some healthy and easy meal ideas, including a few of our favorite easy dinner recipes that you can prepare right from your Lincoln Military home.
Make the Most of Your Commissary Visits
To make the most out of your commissary trips, always keep the essentials stocked. Go to the commissary for fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy once or twice a week. That way, you won't have to spend a ton of time at the store every week because you'll already have your staples, like rice, frozen veggies, and bread, on hand.
Visiting the commissary more often, but for less time per trip, will also help you save money because you will only be buying for a few days at a time, and your food won't spoil before you have a chance to eat it. You'll also notice that shopping for fresh ingredients will be quick and easy because all of those ingredients are placed around the store's outer edges, meaning you won't have to take time searching through the aisles.
We suggest stocking up on the cooking essentials that have a long shelf life (the freezer is your best friend!). Freezing proteins, bread, and veggies mean you'll always have ingredients available for last-minute dinners. You'll just have to remember to take them out of the freezer to defrost in advance. Stock up on rice, chicken stock, and canned foods, as these foods are often used in recipes.
Make a Meal Plan
Planning your meals helps take the stress out of last-minute meals, helps you plan healthier choices, and will save you money. That doesn't mean you have to prepare every single meal down to the last ingredient, but it may be helpful to have a general idea of what you want to cook for dinner throughout the week. That way, you can make a list at the beginning of the week and get everything you need at the commissary in one trip. But don't forget the other meals in your planning! Having mindful snacks on hand is a great way to prepare for hungry kids. Plus, when you plan your meals, you will likely be less tempted to go out to eat (which is usually pricier and less healthy!).
Remember the Most Important Meal of the Day
Did you know that breakfast is actually the most important meal of the day? While we all have places to be in the morning, don't sacrifice these important morning meals. The ideal breakfast has a balance of healthy fiber and whole grains, protein, and good fat (we see you, avocado toast). Eggs, yogurt, whole-grain toast with peanut butter, and cheese sticks with fruit are simple, quick, and healthy commissary food options.
Healthy Commissary Dinner Recipes
As promised, we have a few healthy and easy recipes for your military family dinners. The first is a Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup, which has delicious Mexican flavors while providing key nutrients for your family with ingredients like chicken and black beans. What's even better is you can throw all of the ingredients into your Crock-Pot in the morning, turn the heat on low and forget about it until dinner. Another idea? Make enough to last for lunches throughout the week on Sunday night to save yourself the hassle later on in the week!
This Eat-Your-Veggies Italian Meatball recipe from the Food Network is another easy dinner recipe that sneaks in a ton of vegetables and puts a healthy spin on the traditional spaghetti and meatballs. Whip up these tasty meatballs and pair them with a pot of whole grain spaghetti noodles and marinara sauce. And don't be surprised when your kids ask for seconds!
Making healthy meals for your family after a long day at work may seem impossible, but luckily your commissary grocery store should have what you need. Plan meals out in advance, keep the essentials stocked, and try simple but delicious recipes to make cooking healthy dinners easy.
Related: Here's why you should be shopping at your installation commissary.