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Using the SparkPoints is a very good tool, UNLESS you cheat to get them! I nearly fell into that habit, as I am one of those who really wants my points each day! However, it dawned on me that I am the only one I'm cheating when I say I've read things I haven't read, say I've done things I haven't done,
I use my slow cooker to cook a full batch of veggie broth soup starter with beef, onions, and black beans.
Kids of all ages can help and learn in the kitchen - the smallest kids can tear lettuce for salads, wash vegetables, or stir things in bowls. Talk about what you're doing - kids love to talk about the kinds of food they like best, and what they are most looking forward to enjoying in a meal.
When serving a dish that calls for pasta or rice, steam an extra amount of veggies. Cut your own rice/pasta serving in half, mix in the veggies and not only do you get more veggies, you also have not deprived yourself of the good stuff either. Works real good with spaghetti and rice a roni dishes.
The best thing I did for my healthy lifestyle was invest in a small chest freezer and stacks of freezerware. I took one weekend, made about 10 different dishes, portioned them into individual servings, labeled them with necessary nutritional info, & froze for healthy instant convenience meals.