This post is sponsored by Healthy Choice. Thank you, Healthy Choice!
James is my little human garbage disposal. The kid will eat anything, and he’s not afraid to eat foods many adults still can’t stomach. Annabel, on the other hand, would live on mac and cheese and pizza if we let her. If dinner is something Annabel’s used to she’s happy, but if it strays too far from her comfort zone she wants no part of it. This has made creating healthy and tasty dinners the whole family will eat tough, especially during the school/work week when time is short and everyone is so busy. Meal planning isn’t my strong-suit, but since I’m doing a Whole30 this month planning is practically mandatory.
Annabel hasn’t loved all of the Whole30 food I’ve made. I get it – sometimes I use substitutes that are just no match for the original (let’s be honest, spaghetti squash is good but it’s not pasta). Of course, that means she’s hungry for something else, but I don’t love the idea of making her a separate meal…partly because I am not a short-order cook, and partly because making a Whole30 meal is hard enough without throwing in something else. I mean, I could make her a quick mac and cheese, but I don’t want her to eat that every night. I want her to eat well, too.
Thankfully, Mike stepped up and offered to make the kids a separate dinner on nights when I’m cooking something especially “weird,” (Annabel’s words, not mine). I was very happy about this until I saw Mike’s first dinner for the kids was… pancakes. Don’t get me wrong, Mike makes great pancakes and the kids were ecstatic about it, but pancakes weren’t exactly the healthy alternative I was hoping for. Plus the smell of the pancakes made me CRAZY.
I didn’t want January to turn into “The Month of Pancakes,” so I looked for some easy alternatives and found them in Healthy Choice Simply Cafe Steamers.
These Healthy Choice Simply Cafe Steamers are super easy to make — you just toss them into the microwave, you don’t even have to vent the film — but they taste much, much better than your typical microwavable meal. The food is cooked using a unique steaming tray, leaving vegetables crisp, proteins juicy, and grains perfectly prepared.
I can feel good about feeding these to the kids, too. While everyone has their own definition of “healthy,” these meals are full of protein, minimally processed, and absolutely nothing is artificial, which I appreciate.
A few nights ago I served the kids the Meatball Marinara, which was a dish Annabel could get behind because she looooves her pasta. She cleaned her plate and even ate the spinach in the meal without realizing, I think, that she was eating spinach? Whatever works! James cleaned his plate, too, but that was much less of a surprise.
When my Whole30 is over it will be a lot easier to go back to cooking healthy meals all of us will enjoy (Annabel included), but I foresee us continuing to eat Steamers as a family, especially on those nights when time runs away from us (or when I’m not home to make dinner). The kids love them, Mike loves them, and I’m sure I will love them too since they’ll keep me eating healthy even after my Whole30 is over.
This post brought to you by Healthy Choice.
My only concern is that freezer meals are cooked in plastic. When I eat them, I just dump it on a plate (I do understand that it won’t cook as evenly that way, though).
I love James’ face. He looks like my 3-year-old when she tries to unhinge her jaw to shove in another meatball.
Mike gets bonus points for offering to make a different meal! That has always been a sticking point to a diet plan–not everyone will eat the food. Problem solved! I am going to check into the Steamers for lunch at work.
I tried a sample of one of the Steamers at Sam’s Club quite a while back. I don’t remember what kind it was, but it was, surprisingly to me, quite tasty.
I’ve always liked these much better than Smart Ones or Lean Cuisines. Some tastier than others, but they’re definitely my preference!
And just think, in tomorrow you can also serve turnips and cabbage since Annabel will be 6 and those foods won’t be “weird” anymore!
Thank you for acknowledging that spaghetti squash is not pasta And those do look pretty good. I’ll have to add them to my grocery list.
Kristie Smith says:
I’d love to hear about your Whole30 experience! I’m reading the books, just not ready to commit yet.
The book is a good first step! I did a Whole30 at this time last year and I wrote about it here: http://thespohrsaremultiplying.com/family-and-friends/the-whole-shebang/
I’ll probably write about this one down the line as well!
Marjorie Steele says:
These look amazing but I wondering what the sodium content is? High like most frozen meals?
I have a Chicken Vegetable Stir Fry Steamer in my fridge, so I looked and its sodium content is 500 mg.
Marjorie Steele says:
oooh that is great!!! thanks for the reply
While I’m not doing a Whole 30, I am eating fairly clean. Last night was enchilada stuffed peppers from Meals Made Simple (Against All Grain), and while it was DELICIOUS, the kids wanted no part of it. They had frozen waffles from Trader Joes. Even that felt like making a second dinner. So hard to eat health with kids around. LOL…glad you found a good alternative!