Now that school is back in session it is time to get back on schedule and tackle that transition from relaxed summer days to the busier back-to-school routine that can be a real challenge for many families.
Planning your meals ahead of time can be essential to getting through busy weekdays packed with school, activities, sports and homework. We all want to make sure we are delivery good quality nutrition to our family and choosing healthy, nutritious foods like Canadian turkey and lentils makes that job budget-friendly and super-easy!
Turkey will fuel your family with each 100-gram serving a whopping 30 grams of high quality lean protein. Turkey is also packed with nutrients like vitamin B12 (important in keeping your nervous system – the body’s electrical wiring – working well), selenium (an antioxidant mineral) and zinc (for a strong immune system).
Canadian lentils are another great choice for weekday meals. They are a nutritional powerhouse – high in protein and fiber, and a great source of minerals such as potassium, iron, and folate.
Canadian turkey and lentils can become your go-to meal solutions that power up your family and get them ready for busy, activity-filled days. Choose recipes that include both lentils and turkey, and double your nutritional punch!
Here’s a few tips to help make your week easier with Canadian turkey and lentils:
5 BACK-TO-SCHOOL MEAL PLANNING TIPS WITH CANADIAN TURKEY AND LENTILS
Keep your kitchen stocked with nourishing foods.
Stock your kitchen with nourishing choices so that you have the ingredients to make wholesome meals and snacks. Always keep your favourite turkey parts in the freezer so you have them on hand. Lentils and lentil puree freeze beautifully so they’re ready to go when you are, or keep canned or dry lentils stocked in your cupboard as a pantry staple. Better yet, plan for leftovers next time you cook up your favourite meal. Meatloaf, burgers, casseroles and curries made with lentils and turkey will become family favourites that work for you twice when you freeze a portion. And don’t forget that lentils are a pantry staple that keeps in dry, dark, cool location for up to one year. Lentils don’t require pre-soaking to use – just rinse and simmer, then enjoy!
Cook fresh: Make more meals ‘from scratch’.
Cooking meals ‘from scratch’ means you can include more of the foods you need for good health. Cooking at home also helps save you money; prepared meals, convenience items and take-out foods can be expensive! Are you time-crunched? Having ingredients prepped and ready-to-go can help you get a meal on the table in a flash. Try these time saving preparation strategies:
- Marinate turkey thighs and pre-cook lentils, then freeze each in meal-size portions to defrost quickly.
- Keep canned lentils on hand in your pantry.
- Peel, wash and chop vegetables for the next couple of dinners at one time.
- Gather spices and other dry ingredients for dinner recipes the night before.
- Measure fresh ingredients, such as cheese or milk, and keep them in the fridge so they are ready to add to your recipe.
Big batch it! Become friends with big batch cooking.
Cooking large batches of nutrient-rich ingredients can help you stick to your healthy eating goals. If you’ve got wholesome foods available, then you are already on your way to making a nourishing meal. Ground turkey and cooked lentils are budget-friendly and perfect for big batching. When you’ve got a little extra time, cook a large batch of your favourite freezer-friendly recipe containing turkey and lentils, like meatballs, soup, stew, and pasta sauce. Portion it all into small containers and chill/freeze so it’s ready to use during the week.
Plan to put protein-rich foods like turkey and lentils on your plate.
If providing your kids with the energy they need to tackle their day is important to you, then putting protein on your family’s plates should be a priority too! Eating 20 to 30 grams of quality protein with meals can help build and maintain muscle. Because protein delivers long-lasting satisfaction, it can help you manage the munchies. Both Canadian turkey and lentils are high in protein and other important nutrients that keep your body strong and healthy, and lentils provide much-needed fibre, too. And with so many easy and delicious recipe choices available, they’re a tasty way to power up your plate!
Pack good food fast using your leftovers.
Now that you’ve got meal planning, preparation and cooking strategies in place, don’t forget about lunch! Packing a nutritious and tasty lunch your kids will love is easy when dinner leftovers can form the basis of lunches the next day! And making the most of leftovers means nourishing lunches can be ready in a snap. Sliced, cooked turkey is delicious with a lentil salad on the side, or combine both protein-rich foods in turkey-lentil chilli, meatballs, taco filling, and baked pasta. Round out your child’s lunch with healthy add-ons like cheese and crackers, cut up vegetables, yogurt and fruit.
Put Canadian turkey and lentils on your plate every day and you can feel good knowing that you are feeding your family healthy and nutritious food that will get everyone through their days filled with energy and good-for-you fuel!
Need some family approved recipe inspiration? Check out the kid’s favourite recipes section at Canadian Turkey and visit the Lentils.org recipes & cooking section for some great ideas your family will love.
If you are looking for a delicous way to combine turkey and lentils, I’ve got just the recipe for you. This Protein-Packed Turkey Lentil Frittata is literally packed full of protein and flavour and works well for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
Protein-Packed Turkey Lentil Frittata
Serves: 4 people || Prep time: 15 mins. || Cook time: 25 mins.
1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
1/2 kg (1 lb) leftover Canadian turkey
½ cup (125 ml) cooked lentils
½ sweet potato
½ cup (125 ml) roasted red peppers
2 tbsp (30 ml) water
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a medium size non-stick frying pan.
2. Chop sweet potatoes into a small, 1 cm (1/2 inch) dice. Cook sweet potatoes over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until soft and cooked through.
3. Pre-heat oven to broil and adjust oven rack to the middle.
4. Slice turkey, against the grain, into ½ cm (1/4 inch) slices.
5. Beat eggs. Add water and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Add turkey, roasted red peppers, and lentils to the frying pan.
7. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Tilt the pan so the egg mixture settles evenly across the ingredients.
8. Cook over medium heat. Once the eggs begin to cook, stir to break up. Make sure ingredients are evenly distributed. Continue to cook until eggs begin to set on the bottom (4 – 6 minutes) but are still runny on the top.
9. Remove from heat and transfer to the oven.
10. Broil for 5 – 8 minutes until frittata is set and the eggs have puffed up and are cooked through.
11. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
12. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
TIP: This dish tastes great the next day and makes an excellent lunch. Just serve in a sandwich or with a side salad for an instant meal. To cook whole green lentils, place ¾ cup dry lentils in a pot with 2 ¼ cups of water and boil for 20-25 minutes until tender and cooked through. For an extra short-cut you can also use canned lentils too!
- 1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
- ½ kg (1 lb) leftover Canadian turkey
- ½ cup (125 ml) cooked lentils
- ½ sweet potato
- ½ cup (125 ml) roasted red peppers
- 6 eggs
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) water
- Fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a medium size non-stick frying pan.
- Chop sweet potatoes into a small, 1 cm (1/2 inch) dice. Cook sweet potatoes over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until soft and cooked through.
- Pre-heat oven to broil and adjust oven rack to the middle.
- Slice turkey, against the grain, into ½ cm (1/4 inch) slices.
- Beat eggs. Add water and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add turkey, roasted red peppers, and lentils to the frying pan.
- Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Tilt the pan so the egg mixture settles evenly across the ingredients.
- Cook over medium heat. Once the eggs begin to cook, stir to break up. Make sure ingredients are evenly distributed. Continue to cook until eggs begin to set on the bottom (4 – 6 minutes) but are still runny on the top.
- Remove from heat and transfer to the oven.
- Broil for 5 – 8 minutes until frittata is set and the eggs have puffed up and are cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
One Canadian Life Love Liz reader will win a $75 prepaid Visa gift card to help them get back-to-school ready with Canadian Turkey and Lentils.org! Giveaway is open to residents of Canada and ends on September 29th at 11:59 pm est. See giveaway tools form for entry and t&c.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Canadian Turkey and Lentils.org. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.