Healthy Meals That Can Be Prepared In Under 30 Minutes

by Premier Orthodontics

father and son cooking

And with a stay-at-home order in place in many states across the country, your job description has expanded even more. You can now add “teacher” to your parental resumes.

Isn’t it amazing what the addition of just one more duty can do? Sure, you get more time with your kids, and a firsthand look at their education. But let’s face it — your schedule has become overwhelming, to say the least.

A packed schedule can be especially challenging when you’re trying to keep the family healthy. How do you find time to cook healthy meals on top of everything else?

And if your child has braces, that adds an extra layer of complexity. While some recipes might seem quick and easy, the ingredients may not be the best for braces.

For example, crunchy fruits and veggies like carrots and apples are usually easy go-to snacks for your family — until you consider the damage on brackets they can cause. The same goes for foods that are too chewy, or crispy foods that can get stuck behind wires.

Don’t fret: There are plenty of braces-friendly recipes even your kids will get excited about, and that can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less. Here are some of our favorites.

For Breakfast: Sweet Potato Hash

Starting your morning with a healthy meal is a great way to prioritize healthy habits all day. Kick off your day with this delicious and easy breakfast recipe.

Sweet potato hash is a savory, filling, and healthy breakfast that the whole family can get behind. And when the potatoes are properly softened, they become safe for braces — while still having that delicious hash texture.

Ingredients:

  • 2 diced sweet potatoes
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups of kale, diced
  • 1 tsp. each of cumin, paprika and garlic powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

  1. Chop the bacon into bite-size pieces and cook until crisp. Set aside on a paper towel.
  2. Sauté the bell pepper and onion in olive oil for one minute.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and cook the mixture for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add a lid and let the veggie mixture sit for another 5-7 minutes to ensure they soften.
  5. Add bacon and kale to the pan and stir until kale begins to wilt.
  6. Press down portions of the hash to make a divot. Add eggs to said divots, and replace lid until the eggs are cooked to the desired consistency.
  7. Remove and season with salt to taste.

For Lunch: Grilled Veggie Sandwiches

Lunch tends to come during the busiest parts of our days, but it's important to pause and eat healthy regardless.

These lunchtime recipes will have your family fueled up for the afternoon, without the stress of falling behind while you meal prep.

These veggies are specially selected not only for their delicious tastes and high nutritional value, but also for how easy they are on braces.

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 4 pieces naan bread
  • 4 tbsp. hummus
  • 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste

Directions:

  1. Slice the zucchini into thick ½ inch slices and red bell pepper into ½ inch wide strip
  2. Set the alfalfa sprouts aside.
  3. Mix spices in a small bowl with the olive oil.
  4. Using a pastry brush, brush the zucchini and bell pepper with the oil and spice mixture.
  5. Grill the veggies on both sides until they’re the desired consistency, preferably on a cast iron skillet.
  6. Add a layer of hummus to each slice of naan.
  7. Add the veggies to bread along with the alfalfa sprouts to form sandwiches.

For an Afternoon Snack: Granola Balls

Granola bars are as easy to make as they are to eat. They can be stored in the refrigerator as a grab-and-go snack all week!

Ingredients (for about 10 balls):

  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup almond butter

Combine all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Form into balls, and serve!

What’s for Dinner? Couscous Salad

End your day on a high note with this tasty dish that can be used as a side or a main course. This dish is great as a go-to side for your favorite meats, or all on its own!

  • It has a special veggie blend packed with nutrients, and the perfect texture to eat when braces are feeling extra sore.

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 1 1/2 cups dried Israeli couscous, also called pearl couscous
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, depending on taste
  • 1 medium English cucumber, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs; use any combination of fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, or mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add couscous and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes, then drain.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the oil, mustard, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together. Add the drained couscous to the dressing and mix well.
  3. Stir in the cucumber, tomato, herbs, and walnuts. Taste and adjust with salt or pepper as needed.
  4. Enjoy warm or cover then refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

Now Time for Dessert: Magic Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

We all need a treat here and there, especially during stressful times like these. And with the sun coming out, what sounds better than a cool treat to remind you that summer is near?

Creamy, sweet, and cool. Satisfy your sweet tooth while sipping summer from a glass.

Ingredients (per serving):

Directions:

  1. Blend the frozen bananas, orange juice and vanilla extract until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  2. Add coconut milk, 1 handful of ice, and if you’d like, a vanilla protein powder.
  3. Blend, pour into a glass, top with coconut whipped topping, and serve immediately.

Use these recipes the next time you’re in a time crunch. There’s nothing like the sweet satisfaction of knowing you and your family ate something healthy that’s safe on the braces and easy on the wallet.

You might also find that as you create these recipes, new ones come to mind that you’ve been meaning to try!

Before you head to the grocery store, you might want to study up on what to eat when you have braces >