Family and Budget-Friendly Healthy Weeknight Meals
Keepin’ it quick, cheap yet nutritious with wheat!
One of the best attributes of life’s simple ingredient, wheat, is that it’s so versatile. You’ve just finished up baking (and eating) delicious and indulgent treats through the holiday season with wheat as a base ingredient—now it’s time to use it as a building block for nutrient-packed, easy and healthy weeknight meals for the whole family. There are so many different ways to use wheat to create nutritious meals filled with heart-healthy fibre, energizing carbs and muscle-building protein to keep you and the kids ready for everything the new year brings. Here are four of our favourite ways to get dinner on the table quick and inexpensively—without compromising on nutrition or taste.
We can all get behind a delicious pizza, and when it’s ready in 10 minutes, it’s a great way to get dinner on the table quick after a busy day of work and school. Using whole wheat pita bread as a base, all you need to do is add your favourite tomato sauce, some fresh mozzarella and basil to create a margherita pizza of your own. Get a whole wheat pack of six pitas from the grocery store for only three dollars and you’ve got bases for the whole family! Let the fam top their pita pizza with whatever ingredients they please—pack on the veggies and toppings like roasted chicken or a variety of cheeses to increase the nutrients and protein in this quick meal. With just about five grams of fibre per whole wheat pita, you’ll be sure your family is getting the heart-healthy nutrient that will help them feel full for longer after a busy day. Learn more about why fitting fibre into your diet is important to maintaining you and your family’s health. This recipe is a great time-saver and can be a fantastic money-saver by using pitas as the pizza base.
Cooking the couscous while the salmon and asparagus are in the oven cuts the prep time in this meal so you can enjoy a warm, balanced meal in 20 minutes. The maple, lemon and garlic flavours in the glaze will make you feel like you’re out at your favourite restaurant when you’ve really whipped up a gourmet meal in no time that includes Omega-3s in the salmon, important for brain health, and fibre in the asparagus and couscous. Minimal dishes are needed to make this salmon dinner, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time cleaning up, either. A perfectly nutritious meal for those nights when kids’ activities mixed with work and prepping for school the next day can seem overwhelming. Couscous is the perfect cost-efficient grain addition to this dish with a two-pound bag costing under four dollars at most grocery stores. That’s a lot of heart-healthy fibre to feed to your family—at a low price!
Pasta is always a no-brainer for a quick weeknight meal, but this one is a great option because it’s packed with Mediterranean-inspired veggies and can be customized however suits your family! Keep it vegetarian with the addition of artichokes, olives and tomatoes or kick up the protein by adding shrimp, chicken or Italian sausage to this angel hair pasta dish. It’s lemony, garlicky and filled with bright flavour to pick you up after a dreary winter day. If you want to increase the veggie count in this dish, adding roasted vegetables like brussels sprouts, carrots or asparagus on the side is delicious if you’ve got some on hand waiting to be cooked up. Pasta is one of our favourite budget-friendly meal options because of its incredibly long shelf life and ability to feed a crowd at a low cost! There will generally be at least one brand of pasta on sale at the grocery store, so be sure to stock up on that angel hair, or capellini, when you get a chance.
It’s no secret we’re fans of one-pan meals—they’re just so easy to clean up! Get that sizzling experience of a restaurant at home with these chicken fajitas at a lower price than their restaurant counterpart. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making your very own tortillas (it’s simple!) but store-bought will work just as well for this recipe. Set the table with all the best fajita toppings like cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole and hot sauce and let the kids pick their favourite combinations so everyone wins on fajita night. Get a ten pack of tortillas for the fam for under four dollars! Money saving hot tip: check the cart near the produce section with discounted produce. You’re likely to find something there, like bell peppers, that may not look absolutely perfect but are totally suitable to roast and throw on your fajitas.
If you’re feeling stressed about getting dinner on the table these days, try out each of these easy weeknight meals that take little time to prep and cook for you and the family. Wheat is the perfect ingredient to make a base for quick, affordable and nutritious meals that can be customized to everyone’s liking. Which one will you try first? Be sure to tag us on Twitter @LifesIngredient or Instagram @lifessimpleingredient to share your weeknight meal creations using life’s simple ingredient.