5 Family Meal Ideas Everyone Will Enjoy
Posted on December 13 2017
As a mother, I’m well aware of how challenging dinner time can be. You could read every recipe book available, and your kids will still turn their nose up at whatever you put in front of them, even if they liked it the day before. Sometimes, there’s just no pleasing everyone. You want them to get a nutritionally-balanced meal, but you also want to make sure they’re going to eat it. After all, there’s no point going to a lot of trouble if it’s going to end up in the dog’s dinner bowl.
Because we understand the daily battle you face with ensuring your kids get nutritionally-balanced family meals, we’ve come up with some great ideas to make it much easier. They worked for us, so we have every faith that they’ll work for you too.
Turn everything into fries
As we know, hot chips or French fries are a “sometimes” food. You may order them on a Friday night after a busy week, or when you’re on the road with no way of preparing a nutritious dinner for everyone. However, children who aren’t familiar with food pyramid or how nutrition affects their lives can often decide it’s something they would like for dinner every night.
Of course, this isn’t possible. There is only so much nutritional content in a deep fryer vat, and it’s definitely not one of our family meal ideas.
However, chips in some respects, are a vegetable. And, you can make many vegetables into chips. Choosing to turn standard roasting vegetables into a chip is a win-win situation. Your children get the chips they want, and they also get the many essential vitamins and nutrients it contains. Simply cut a sweet potato or another root vegetable into a chip shape, add a splash of olive oil and salt, and bake in the oven until golden brown. Add tomato sauce, and you’re a winner! Of course, it’s best to pair these chips with other vegetables and a source of protein as well.
Make ‘adult meals’ basic
When you’re looking for easy family recipes, there are a few things you usually need to watch out for.
- Serving sizes – will it feed mum, dad, and the kids?
- Nutritional value – does it offer a hearty dose of nutrients?
- Are they easy – like, really easy? Can it be whipped up in an hour?
- Will they be okay as leftovers for lunch?
- Most importantly, will the kids like it?
Many children do not like the complex flavours found in many meals. That is why so many restaurants serve up chips, mini hot dogs, fish bites and salads on the side. If it has too many layers of flavour or too rich, it’s not going to be a favourite.
However, why should you miss out on a hearty lasagna or pasta dish as a result of your children’s undeveloped taste buds? You don’t have to. You merely have to tone down the flavour. The trick is to find dishes that you can make plain for the kids but can add flavour to for mum and dad. A pasta dish is a good option. You can add delicious sauces for mum and dad, but you can mix in a basic cheese sauce for the kids. Remember, you can still get creative with pasta dishes. Never be afraid to add finely-chopped vegetables to a pasta dish to ensure it’s still nutritious.
Don’t forget the vegetables
Life gets busy; there’s no denying it. When you’re working full time and running a household, there’s usually not a lot of time left in the day. Sometimes, it can be all too easy to throw a couple of mince pies on an oven tray and let the kids dig in. Once in awhile, this is okay, but on a regular basis, it’s not. As we know, processed food isn’t good for us. Therefore, the more vegetables you can add to your family’s diet, the better. Obviously, getting kids to eat their broccoli is a challenge on its own, but that’s where your creativity can come into play.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that dinner time – or any meal time – is not going to be conventional while the kids are young. I’ve seen parents add a fish fillet to a plate, followed by a slice of orange, a carrot, cooked broccoli and an apple. Sure, it’s not what you see everyday, but as a parent, you have to make compromises. If you can get your children to eat the recommended 5+ servings of fruit and vegetables in a day, who’s to say you can’t add the fruit serving at dinner time?
Make it a bonding experience
When your kids reach a certain age, they will start becoming interested in what you’re doing. When it comes to meal preparation, why not get them involved? Children love being able to help, and if they can help prepare dinner, they will be more invested in the final result – thus increasing the likelihood of them eating and enjoying it. When you get a minute, sit down and look for healthy food recipes for kids. You can either buy a recipe book of basic recipes you can make with the children, or you can compile your own from some you’ve found online. They can be nutritious, suitable for everyone, and easy for the kids to lend a hand with.
Keep it simple
If you’re an avid social media user, you will no doubt come across so many people experimenting with recipes to the delight of their families. They manage to achieve complex flavours, hearty stews, and fine dining meals that would have taken hours. They may look delicious, but don’t feel bad for not holding your own kitchen to the same standard. Everyone is different, and remember, your goal is to be a parent first, and a world-class chef second. As long as your kids are getting a decent dose of the vitamins and nutrients they need, you’ve done your job.
The truth is, planning seven dinners for a week that no one will cause a fuss over is a hard task. If you manage to achieve it week in, week out, you will be admired by many. You’re not going to please all of your kids all of the time, but we hope that our tips above can come in handy. As we’re sharing advice, have you got any ideas of your own? How does dinner time work at your house? Get in touch and let’s have a chat!