Healthy Meals for Busy Families

Feeding a family is no mean feat. Follow these tips to whip up nutritious, delicious fare in a flash.

By Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Cynthia Haines, MD

Providing healthy meals is the ultimate challenge for harried parents. The kids are constantly on the go. And whether you work outside the home or inside, you likely have many demands on your time. Yet even if family meals are no longer the unhurried affairs you may remember, that doesn't diminish their importance.

Gathering together at the table allows your family to connect with each other. Family meals also help children learn good table manners. Just as important, they set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating.

How can you preserve family mealtime and still meet your busy schedule? Here are a few simple strategies and tips that will have you whipping up nutritious and delicious family fare in a flash.

Rise and Dine: The Importance of Breakfast

If there is a most important meal, it must be breakfast. "Research shows that kids who eat breakfast on a regular basis take in more nutrients overall, including fiber; are less overweight; and fare better on academic tests than children who skip the morning meal," says Janice Bissex, MS, RD, co-author of The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers.

Breakfast's affects on academic performance is really a no-brainer: After about 10 hours or so without food, eating in the a.m. fuels the brain and body for the day ahead. Plus, it's a meal, so when you skip it, you miss out on opportunity to consume important nutrients, such as protein, calcium, fiber, and vitamins.