Happy November 1st! Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away? There’s nothing better than spending quality time at the dinner table reminiscing about our day and chatting with the family about what’s new. Lifestyle expert, Colleen Burns (aka Mom On The Run) joined me for an interview to dish on some of the best holiday cooking hacks that the family will love! They’ll ensure you spend less time cooking and more time enjoying your family and meal.
Colleen shared tips on how to incorporate frozen foods, vegetables and fruits into our daily meals. She also dished on how you can get your kids involved. Please be sure to watch the video below for more details. I also transcribed the interview for your below. Enjoy!
Holiday Food Hacks The Family Will Love
Here are a few holiday food hacks that lifestyle expert, Colleen Burns shared during her recent interview with journalist and blogger, Candace Rose Anderson of the website Candie Anderson.
How To Spend More Time With Family At The Dinner Table
Candie Anderson: Fall is such a busy time for families across the country. With everyone going in different directions, how do you get family to sit down together?
Colleen Burns: “The holidays are just around the corner and our calendar that we thought was already full with extracurricular activities is now full of social commitments as well. With everything going on during the week, it is harder and harder to get in that crucial quality family time. We know how important it is if we can even get a couple of nights a week where my family is actually together for dinner, we call it a win, so I make the most of those evenings. On those nights I often turn to my freezer for a little help.
You may be surprised to learn that many of those meals actually have fewer calories, fat and sodium levels than the average homemade recipe. It serves as a great base for a balanced meal as long as you have a healthy side dish. Rather than spending the evening cooking a full meal from scratch, I can focus on spending that time with my family instead.
How about pizza? It’s about the easiest thing for dinner and even that can be part of a nutritious balanced meal as long as you have the right portions and a healthy side dish of fresh fruit or vegetables. Everyone in my family loves pizza. I like Digiorno’s pepperoni crispy pan pizza because it comes in its own pan, so even that is easier and you don’t have to clean up afterword. For 20 minutes while it’s cooking I can round up those fruits and vegetables with my family.”
How To Get The Family To Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Candie Anderson: What can parents do to ensure that their entire family is eating right?
Colleen Burns: “I think it’s important that your children understand why you’re making the choices you are for their meals. I have them help with chopping up vegetables and fruit. We like to make interactive meals like a salad bar. I skip the bowl, I hand them a lettuce wrap and fill it with their favorite vegetables, add a little light dressing, maybe some dried fruit and nuts. We can chop all those veggies in advance if we want to even the weekend before. If there are leftovers we can always use those for stir-fry the next day or some other meal.
Fruit skewers, same idea. They’re threading their favorite fruits onto a skewer. You can maybe make a quick dip with yogurt and some honey. These are really great easy ways to round out that plate. We were talking about saving some time by getting a meal that’s already prepared, that’s okay because you’re not making it from scratch but you’ve got that extra time with your family. With that having been said, you make smart choices with those frozen foods.
I like to look at the labels to make sure that I’m mindful of portion sizes. That’s really important, especially when having something decadent like pizza. Always look at the ingredient list, make sure you recognize everything that you’re feeding your children. Check out calories and fats and that kind of thing. Also, choose those frozen foods that have no artificial ingredients.”
How To Be Mindful When Prepping Meals and Eating
Candie Anderson: As you mentioned, the holidays are coming soon. This will be perfect when you’re hosting out of town guests and you’re already busy.
Colleen Burns: “Absolutely. You want to have a quick go-to meal without even having to look for a pan. It doesn’t get any easier than that. But you want to round it out, you want to make sure you’re mindful of those portion sizes like I said. You can’t just sit down in front of a pizza and have nothing else with that. That’s not going to be healthy. That’s true of any other kinds of foods as well. You need to make sure you’re balanced. These are quick easy things to do. Like I said, if you’ve got some extra time in the weekend, do that extra chopping, that prepping in advance. It’s a lot easier to throw together your meal in less time, and then more time for family. Also, if you incorporate your children in the prepping process you have that much more time together to talk about their day.”
How To Find More Information
Candie Anderson: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Colleen Burns: “You can find some great recipes and some tips for making easy nutritious meals at a website called NestleUSA.com/Balance. They have a balance your plate program that incorporates frozen as well as fresh foods so you can save time, but you’re still serving your family nutritious meals.”
Colleen Burns Bio
About Colleen Burns: Colleen has a psychology degree, a background in childhood education, and the real-life experience of raising six sons. A former national and local TV journalist, Colleen shares tips on parenting, travel, looking and feeling good. She has represented hundreds of the world’s most successful mom and kid-friendly consumer brands and helps families get the most from their lives while saving money and time. She regularly appears on Lifetime, and the CW network as well as local appearances on network affiliates in NY, San Francisco, Minneapolis, San Diego, Chicago, Miami and more.