Joy Bauer lightens up kid-friendly chicken tenders, bagels, oatmeal and more

Joy Bauer makes better-for-you versions of kid-friendly favorites.

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By Joy Bauer

Who wants to save time in the kitchen during the back-to-school rush?

If your hand is raised, follow my lead with these make-ahead, family-friendly recipes. They're terrific time savers and will help you feel less stressed during early mornings and homework-filled nights. It's basically meal prep 101 … and you're about to score an A.

Protein Bagels

Kids and adults flip for these crazy-good whole-grain bagels. They're surprisingly simple to make and each one provides 10 grams of satiating protein and 4 grams of filling fiber. Best of all, they store well in the freezer so you can make a big batch ahead of time and then slice 'em, toast 'em and spread on your preferred toppings. We like light cream cheese, nut butter and fresh fruit, or sliced tomatoes with melted Swiss in my house, but really, anything goes!

Get the recipe here.

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Feel-Good Overnight Oats

Just prep these oats the night before and you'll wake up to a tasty and nutritious breakfast in the a.m. I like to add hemp seeds to provide a dose of plant-based protein, fiber, heart-healthy fats and zinc, to boost immunity and to help our kiddos tackle back-to-school germs. It's delicious chilled right out of the fridge but if you prefer your overnight creation warmed, simply add an extra 1/2 cup milk, give it a good stir and microwave the dish covered for 1-2 minutes. Then, just dig in and enjoy!

Get the recipe here.

Crispy Chicken Tenders

Attention crispy chicken lovers! I like to healthify this classic dish by coating chicken tenders in a wholesome, whole-grain crust — with a dash of cheesy goodness for extra flavor — and then bake them in a hot oven so they get ultra crispy without ever coming close to a deep fryer. Pro tip: make a big batch of the breading ahead of time and store it in the fridge. This way, when dinnertime rolls around, your chicken fingers will be ready in a flash.

Get the recipe here.

Oh, how I love my slow cooker! This simple pulled chicken recipe elevates the taste of any standard enchilada and it couldn't be any easier to make. I toss all of the chicken fixings into my "magic pot" (aka what I call my special slow cooker) in the morning before I leave for work. When I come home later in the day, I shred all of the flavorful and perfectly cooked chicken, quickly assemble the tortillas and pop them in the oven. Dinner is served in less than 20 minutes and my kids can't get enough of this yummy Mexican-inspired classic.

For delicious recipes, follow Joy on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and check out her upcoming kid's book "Yummy Yoga."

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