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Dinner Made Easy!

Vacation's over! After the relaxed pace of summer, it can be a challenge to manage hectic work and school schedules. Make it a routine this September to menu plan and make a shopping list before you hit the supermarket; it will make it easy to prepare wholesome meals all week long.

1. First, do a pantry and fridge inventory to see what staples you have on hand. Likewise, you'll find out if there are any lingering perishable foods that need to be used up quickly. By incorporating those ingredients into your menu for the beginning of the week, you will save time, money and avoid wasting food.

2. Think about how to recycle within your menu plan. For example, the chicken breast grilled for dinner on Tuesday can be sliced and combined with your choice of Summer Fresh Hummus or Dip, chopped cucumber and shredded lettuce for lunchtime wraps on Wednesday.

3. Plan at least one or two 'no-cook' meals for when evening activities leave you short on time. By stocking a variety of Summer Fresh Salads, you can have an instant salad bar any night of the week. Add cold meats, frozen shrimp and eggs (to hard-boil) to your grocery list to round out these meals. Your family will love the choice and you'll save on your energy bill, too!

4. Portable meals are also handy for those times when you just have to get out the door. Buy whole-wheat pita and fresh veggies to cut up and pack along with your favourite tub of Summer Fresh Hummus for dipping. Canada's Food Guide recommends eating meat alternatives more often and 3/4 cup (175 mL) of hummus counts as one serving.

5. Once fresh local produce is out of season, buy a selection of frozen vegetable blends to simplify mealtime preparation. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh and can be tossed into soups, stir-fries, casseroles and more.

6. Stock up on boneless fish fillets for the freezer as another nutritious, lean protein source. Fish can be baked or pan-seared in minutes and simply accented with a delicious Summer Fresh Dip such as Tzatziki or Balsamic Onion. Maintaining a pantry of wholesome ingredients will eliminate the need to order take-out. Don't forget, including the whole family in weekly menu planning will improve your chances for success.

Amy Snider-Whitson
President, The Test Kitchen Incorporated

Amy Snider-Whitson has developed nutrition programs and guided food marketers to use health and diet messages responsibly and meaningfully.

She employs a battery of nutrition databases and has contacts at the CFIA, USDA, FDA and ADA with whom she frequently consults to help make responsible claims that can help consumers to lead healthier lives.

Contact Amy at

Click to read Amy's Full Bio

Past Articles

Nutritious Harvest Vegetables

Smart After School Snacks

Summer Salad Days

Weeknight Grill Buddies

Seven Layer Heaven

I Love Mom

Spring Planting

Nutrition Myths

Family Day Fun

Cupboard Clean-Up: Snack Attack

Holiday Party Survival Guide

Entertaining Special Diets

Thanksgiving Shakedown

Dinner Made Easy

Glycemic Index Primer

Summertime Switch Up

Just For Men

Mommy Love

Spring Bounty

Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Food for the Heart

Countdown to improve your health

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