Quick Meals for Busy Families

It’s that time of year when work, school, activities and other obligations start to get piled on to what may already be a hectic life. You may feel like there is never enough time in the day to be able to tackle everything and make meals for your family.

Fear not, we're here to help! These tips and meal suggestions are perfect for those busy families who need to make a quick meal to feed everyone. The suggested meals are, of course, to be used at your discretion based on dietary restrictions or preferences and can be adjusted however you choose.

General Tips

  1. Rice and pasta-based dishes, such as spaghetti or rice bowls, are typically easy, quick to make and will leave you feeling filled and satisfied.
  2. As a follow-up to the first tip, starchy foods in general are filling, such as bread and potatoes (as well as rice and pasta). You can incorporate bread as a side like a bread roll, naan or cornbread. Potatoes are also great to add every once in a while, as well as being extremely versatile: hash browns, fries, tots, roasted or baked potato, etc.
  3. Vegetables are not only a great side for meat-eaters, but they could also be disguised within the main course, such as in a stir-fry.
  4. If your diet allows, frozen and boxed items are the way to go for convenience. Frozen vegetables, fries, chicken, pizza, and even frozen meals are quick ways to get the ball rolling during mealtime. There are also many boxed items and dishes, such as rice or noodles, that can be cooked in a matter of minutes. Also, jarred sauces or packets of sauces can add flavor to any dish in a second.
  5. Building off of pre-packaged foods, you can take it a step further and search for pre-cut or chopped vegetables and meat. It may not seem significant, but it makes a difference in preparation time.

Vegetarian/Vegan Tips

  1. In addition to the general tips above (omitting any meat or animal products, of course), try to incorporate vegetables that are typically used to substitute meat due to their fattiness and versatility. These vegetables include mushrooms, jackfruit, eggplant, hearts of palm, cauliflower, lentils and beans.
  2. Nuts are also a great meat substitute and are high in protein (there is even something called walnut meat).

Meal Suggestions

1. Pesto Pasta

Ingredients for 1 cup of basil pesto sauce*:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (or 1 cup of basil paste)
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (or vegan parmesan cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic cloves minced (or garlic powder)
  • A tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

*Blend everything together to make the pesto sauce.

Ingredients for the pasta:

  • Pasta noodles of your choice
  • Vegetables of your choice
  • Ground turkey other meat/meat substitute of your choice

2. Spaghetti


  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Tomato-based sauce
  • Mushrooms, walnut meat, or ground meat

3. Stir-fry


  • Rice
  • Vegetables of your choice
  • Meat of your choice
  • Teriyaki or stir-fry sauce

4. Any Bowl of Your Choosing


  • Add anything you'd like, but to make it very filling, make sure it contains rice and/or beans as well as plenty of vegetables.

5. Nachos


  • Beans, ground meat, or walnut meat
  • Standard nacho toppings such as lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and salsa
  • Chips

Have you ever made nachos with toasted naan and paneer? How about toasted pita chips and hummus with shawarma of your choice? Think of ingredients or foods outside of the box that your family would enjoy to jazz up any dinner.

What do you think about these suggestions? Do you have any to share?