9 Healthy Hacks for Super Busy Parents

by Grace McCalmon


9 Healthy Hacks for Super Busy Parents

by Grace McCalmon

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Outside of the holidays, and maybe Halloween, fall is the time when many families’ best laid plans to eat healthy go a little off the rails. After all, school is back in session, and it’s hard to eat perfectly when you’ve got 50 million things on the ‘To Do’ list and the need to be in three places at once.

So we teamed up with The Hip Foodie Mom, Alice Choi, to bring you 9 ways you can make staying healthy a little easier.

 1. Freeze your oats

Getting kids up, out the door, and to school on time is hard enough without adding the need to cook. Try this make-ahead breakfast idea: freeze oatmeal in a muffin pan with fresh fruit on top. When you’re ready to eat, warm up in the microwave, and top with milk or almond milk if needed. Read here for our top 7 Hacks for a Healthier Breakfast.

2. Pop in paper

Make healthier popcorn by ditching the pre-packaged stuff and popping your corn in a paper bag. This will save you money – you can buy a jar of kernels for cheaper than individual bags – and spare you some strange additives and ingredients. Just pour 1/4 cup of organic, non-GMO popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag, and fold over a couple of times to close. Heat in the microwave for about 3 minutes. Drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and salt, and you’re done!

3. Save your sauce

Does your left over pasta sauce take up space in the fridge? Or, by the time you open the jar again, you find a science project growing inside? Instead of tossing your sauce, freeze what you don’t use in an ice cube tray. When you need it again, pop out a couple of cubes and heat in a pan or in the microwave.

4. Cut prep time

Cooking with herbs can take any recipe from eh to Emeril, but chopping them is time consuming, and there’s always bunches left over that go bad. Next time you buy a bundle, chop the whole thing. Mix the extra with olive oil and freeze in an ice cube tray. Like the pasta sauce, you can pop out the cubes as you need them.

5. Stay fresh

If you prefer using fresh herbs and need some help keeping them that way, place your herbs in a mason jar or tall glass filled with water. Cover with a large zip-top bag and store in the refrigerator. This can help herbs last one to two weeks longer!

6. Blend your greens

Many times leafy greens go bad before you have time to use them. To avoid having to clean out a brown, sludgy mess at the bottom of your vegetable bin every month, use leftover greens to make a pesto. You don’t even need basil. According to Alice, you can use just about any green to make pesto. Check out her recipe here.

7. Avoid the supermarket sweep

Everyone knows you shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. But not everyone can sit down to a meal before running errands. When grocery shopping with kids (or even by yourself), pack some fruit, nuts, carrot sticks, or other healthy snacks to bring with you. If you’re busy munching on the good stuff, you’ll be less likely to buy everything in the store.

8. Ditch the drips

Love popsicles but hate cleaning the mess that comes from drips and sticky fingers? Use a paper cupcake liner to catch the mess! Just poke the frozen popsicle stick through a cupcake liner and pull all the way up, so that it’s directly under the popsicle.

9. Make your own dough

Instead of buying pricey, pre-made cookie dough that can be filled with processed ingredients and additives, make your own dough ahead of time and freeze the dough balls. When kids want an after-school treat, not only will your cookies be healthier, you can make two or three to order, instead of twenty-five. Try this healthy recipe with less sugar and extra fiber.

You can also try this recipe for healthy, no-bake energy balls.


Know anyone that could use some time-saving tips? Share this with them!

What are your favorite healthy hacks? We’d love to hear in the comments!

Posted on September 24, 2015

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Grace McCalmon

Grace is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and a graduate of Duke University. She received her nutrition certification from the Nutritional Therapy Association, and her training is based on the work of Dr. Weston A Price, as well as the latest peer-reviewed, scientific research.