Can I confess something? When my children were young and my spouse was constantly coming and going, there was a time when I cooked everything in the microwave.
Looking back, I am more than a little embarrassed at the amount of boxed dinners I prepared for me and my brood. To be fair, when my kids were young, the internet was still a newfangled mysterious thing and Pinterest wasn’t even a word yet.
Shamefully, I sacrificed nutrition for convenience. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has fallen into the trap of ease versus nutrition.
Which is why the “Thinking Outside the Box” initiative created by DeCA’s registered dietitian, Deborah Harris, is such a good idea.
Harris joined the DeCA team earlier this year and her impact has been nothing but positive. In a recent interview Harris revealed she doesn’t “want to tell people what they cannot eat,” instead she wants “them to be knowledgeable about what it is they are eating.”
And what better place to promote that awareness than at military commissaries worldwide? In the biweekly commissary flyer (and online), she offers healthy and easy dinner ideas that feature specials at the commissary.
Dinner plans and a sale? Nothing wrong with that.
Harris Understands the Demands of Military Life
Harris comes to DeCA with plenty of military experience under her belt. Raised as a Navy brat, 1st Lieutenant Harris served as a dietitian in the Army for 4 years at both Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Fort Sill. She is a certified diabetes educator and a maternal child health specialist.
Prior to joining DeCA, Harris was the director of network programs for the Michigan Fitness Foundation. She also worked as a public health specialist for the SNAP-Ed program and worked to help educate students, parents and other community members about nutrition and obesity prevention across the state of Michigan.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
DeCA’s Dietitian Provides Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas
You can find meal ideas in the biweekly sales flyer, but even if you don’t regularly shop at the commissary, you can still take advantage of Harris’ dinner ideas.
Visit the Healthy Eats section on the DeCA website to browse new and archived recipes.
On the menu this week? Stovetop Tuna Mac. Stovetop Tuna Mac is just a handful of simple ingredients and takes about 30 minutes to prepare.
Quick Stovetop Tuna Mac
- 8 oz whole wheat pasta (elbow, rotini, or rigati)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 12-16 oz frozen broccoli
- 2 eggs
- 6 oz nonfat evaporated milk
- 8 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 5 oz can tuna in water, drained
- Dry mustard, salt & pepper to taste
Boil pasta according to package directions. Add ¼ tsp of salt to the water and cook until pasta is tender (8 to 10 minutes). Drain pasta and return to the pot along with 2 tbsp of butter and mix until butter is melted. Microwave frozen broccoli according to directions on package.
While that’s cooking, whisk together 2 eggs, nonfat evaporated milk, ½ tsp salt, dash of pepper, and ¾ tsp of dry mustard. Add mixture to pasta and stir gently. Set heat to low and add cheddar cheese, heat until the cheese melts and the sauce is slightly thickened and creamy.
Remove from heat and add the drained tuna to the cheesy pasta. Gently mix.
Serve with broccoli and enjoy! This recipe serves a family of 4.
If tuna isn’t your thing, check out these other great recipes:
- Shrimp Couscous
- Quick Brunswick Stew with Cornbread
- Asian Lettuce Wraps and Blue Cheese Peaches
- BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza
Thankfully, I eventually realized making healthy choices for my family was infinitely more important than convenience. With great deals and recipes right at your fingertips, you won’t have to make the same mistakes I did.
And just in case you’re still sitting on the fence, just pretend I’m your mother, whispering in your ear, “Eat your veggies and make healthy choices.”