October 14, 2023

Busy schedules leading up to Halloween can make it hard to get the family back to the dinner table. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Hy-Vee registered dietitians are here to help make it happen with 3 tips to plan and execute weeknight family meals. With these easy tips you’ll be eating nutritious and delicious meals around the table in no time.

Tip 1: Keep it simple. Choose recipes that have minimal ingredients or require minimal dishes, like one-pot recipes (try the delicious Parmesan Gnocchi Soup recipe below), to save on prep time and cleanup. You can build a simple balanced meal by selecting a lean protein, veggie and whole grain to incorporate, and then jazz it up with sauces or seasonings to make it both nutritious and satisfying.

Tip 2: Plan and prepare in advance. Look at your schedule for the week to see what dinnertime will realistically look like each night. Plan meals for each day that correlate with the amount of time you have to prep and eat. Sheet pan recipes are hectic night heroes! Simply toss your family’s favorite vegetable with lean protein and seasonings and let the oven do the rest of the work. And don’t forget to get the family’s input! Pick two different colors of vegetables such as carrots and green beans and a grain – try a quick and easy microwavable brown rice pouch – for a balanced meal. Follow your shopping list and buy convenience items when needed such as Hy-Vee Short Cuts veggies to help cut down on time in the kitchen and spend more time enjoying the meal with your family and friends.

Tip 3: Utilize leftovers. Instead of throwing out the random odds and ends of food or leftovers in your fridge at the end of the week, throw them together in a grain bowl to make a tasty and satisfying creation. Incorporate a whole grain such as brown rice or quinoa, leftover veggies and a lean protein that you can prep quickly or pull out of the freezer.

Remember it doesn’t have to be complicated. By taking the time to share meals with our loved ones, we can nourish our bodies and our relationships, and create memories that will last a lifetime. If you don’t want picky kids, try not to be picky yourselves. That includes eating your serving of veggies, too! Eating together tastes better and that’s why the Hy-Vee dietitian team and our generous sponsors Fairlife and the Iowa Beef Council have put together the Family Meals Challenge! Running from August 28 through November 5, 2023, you can simply track if you met the goal of 3 or more meals as a family each week. Family looks different for everyone – your family can include your relatives, friends and neighbors. Get started tracking today for your chance to win prizes; simply register today to complete the challenge!

Bring your family back to the dinner table with this easy, one-pot meal that comes together in just 30 minutes!

Parmesan Gnocchi Soup
Serves 6

All You Need:
1 tbsp Hy-Vee Select olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cup Hy-Vee 33%-less-sodium chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can Hy-Vee kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can Hy-Vee Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
Rind of Parmesan cheese
3 cups prepared potato gnocchi
1 medium zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
1 cup baby spinach leaves
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

All you do:

  1. In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic in hot oil until softened.
  2. Add broth, beans, undrained tomatoes, carrots and Parmesan rind to stockpot. Simmer about 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  3. Stir in gnocchi and zucchini. Bring mixture to boiling; continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add spinach and heat through.
  4. Remove Parmesan rind and top each serving with grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe source: https://www.hy-vee.com/recipes-ideas/recipes/parmesan-gnocchi-soup. The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.