Throughout the busy days of summer, I have, on more than one occasion, found myself at the nearest fast food joint simply for the convenience of a quick and easy snack or meal.  Now, with the even crazier days of school, extra curricular  activities, and meetings in my families future, the temptation is sure to get stronger! However, for the health of myself and my family, I know this a bad solution to not having the time, energy, or convenience to serve them healthy meals and snacks.  Now if I can just stick with the tips below, we will be eating healthy while saving time, and my sanity!!

Four Healthy Meal and Snack Tips

1. Keep Michael Angelo's Family Size Italian meals in your freezer for those nights when you just don't feel like cooking dinner.

You are probably wondering how could I possibly start off a ‘healthy' food post with a FROZEN meal! And this coming from someone who once cooked EVERYTHING from scratch! There have been several times after a busy day that I just do NOT feel like preparing a meal. I recently got a chance to try Michael Angelo's Italian family size meals and ever since, they have become a last-minute go-to that is super handy! Michael Angelo's meals are made from scratch in Texas. My family and I  have tried several Michael Angelo's Italian meal varieties: Lasagna with Meat Sauce, Chicken Parmesan, and Eggplant Parmesan. We enjoyed each one as they tasted fresh and homemade. There have been several nights when having one of these meals on hand was the key to having a healthy family dinner, together. The kiddos' favorite is the Chicken Parmesan, which they devoured!

2. Satisfy your ice cream craving with Arctic Zero ice cream substitute. 

Arctic zero ice cream substitute | GMO free, dairy free, gluten freeHere's another new-to-me American-made treat I've recently discovered. A container of ice cream can always be found in my freezer, because, you know, the kids LOVE ice cream! Ok, ice cream is my weakness and I have been known, to the sadness of my kiddos, to finish off a container…or two. Not the best way to maintain the jean size. Well now that I have found Arctic Zero, I don't feel bad indulging in a frozen treat, since an entire pint of Arctic Zero only has 150 calories!!! Made in California, Arctic Zero is a perfect snack for those with specific diet restrictions as all products are natural, gluten free, and are suitable for the lactose intolerant and low glycemic. I recently received samples of Arctic Zero. Oh, YUM! The Mint Chocolate Cookie is hands down, the ultimate family favorite Arctic Zero flavor!! The kiddos did not even notice it was any different from ‘real' ice cream!! Our other favorites are the Sea Salt Caramel, Orange Cream, Strawberry, and Coconut flavors.

3. Keep chopped fresh vegetables and fruits available for quick snacks.

Always having chopped fruits and veggies on hand in the fridge makes it easy to grab a quick healthy snack. Glass food containers by Pyrex are perfect for this. My kiddos love being able to help themselves to a snack of pre-sliced celery (with a dab of peanut butter already added for dip).  Other favorites are sliced peppers, carrots, watermelon, cucumbers and pineapple. The small Pyrex containers are handy for grab and go snacks, while the larger ones are perfect for the beach cooler.

4. Soups make great meals!
Soups are simple to make and can be served on their own or with a side salad and bread. The Summer Veggie Gazpacho recipe below is one of my mother in law's long time favorites, and has just become my favorite way to use up cucumbers and tomatoes that I get at the local farmers' market.

Summer Veggie Gazpacho

1/4 to 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
2 cups ripe tomatoes
2 cups cucumber or squash (like zucchini)
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup ice cubes
salt, pepper, basil or oregano for seasoning

In a food processor or blender, rough blend tomato and cucumber (or squash). Add garlic, red wine vinegar, oil, and seasonings. If prefer a chunky consistency, blend only to mix. If prefer a smooth consistency, blend more. Add ice cubes and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Stir before serving.

For another soup recipe, check out Quick and Easy Butternut Squash Soup.

Makes a great soup as is or with added chopped cucumbers and/or tomatoes.  Get fancy if you want to by adding a garnish of chives and croutons.  Also can be enjoyed as a breakfast or snack beverage.

 What old and new favorites are you turning to for healthy meals and snacks? Share your best tip in the comments below.

Disclosure: USA Love List received some products in this post unconditionally for review purposes. Our opinions are always our own, and we aim to write fair and balanced reviews to promote only the very best of American-made products.