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I have no problem coming up with main dishes to serve my family at meal times. My problem area when it comes to meal planning is side dishes. Can you relate? I have found that if I do not plan side dishes to go along with our meals, I end up serving nothing which results in everyone eating more of the main dish than I anticipated, leaving no leftovers. I bank on having leftovers for quick lunches, so you can see how this dilemma quickly became a problem in my home!

Like most of you, I need meal time to be no fuss. I don't have time to spend on elaborate, gourmet main dishes, let alone sides to accompany the meals. I needed some quick and easy side dishes that would balance out my meals. Growing up, my mom would almost always serve bread with our meals. Unfortunately, for my mostly grain-free family, that is not an option. I came up with three super simple side dishes that my family can enjoy and I can rest easy knowing that, as long as I remember to whip one up, I will have leftovers for lunch the next day!

1. Fruit. This can be anything from fresh fruit to sautéd bananas and anything in between. My mom blessed me recently by processing almost 25 lbs. of apples into applesauce for me. We have been enjoying that alongside our meals lately. Depending on where you live, apple season may still be in full swing. If so, it isn't too late to stock your freezer with applesauce! My mom used the crockpot method of cooking the sauce, which seems very simple to me.

2. Quinoa. This grain-like seed cooks up like rice and helps to stretch many a meal. I make it any way that I used to make rice. Cook it in chicken broth, use it as a base for a salad or take the meat out of a meal like this Thai inspired main dish and serve it  as a side. Quinoa is, in my experience, very forgiving, so experiment and see how your family likes it best!

3. Veggies. Serve raw veggies with a side of homemade dairy free ranch dip . Dice up an avocado and watch your kiddos pop the pieces like candy. Roast them and throw them in a yummy farro salad. If you need more ideas on how to serve veggies to your brood, check out The Veggie Book, a super affordable e-book chock full of delicious and creative ways to serve veggies to your family.

What are your go-to side dishes? Inspire me!



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  1. One of my got to quick side recipes for this time of year is to bake several sweet potatoes and when they are done mash them,add lots of butter and cinnamon and it is done! A family favorite.

  2. We do a lot of fresh fruit and veggies. I also buy bags of frozen veggies to quick steam while the main dish is finishing up. I try to mix it up with different fat/seasoning combos.

    Our other go-to side is smoothies. I know that’s more of a drink, but it really helps fill everyone up and gives them an extra boost of probiotics, fruit and veggies.

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