Eating healthily is something that many people aspire towards because we all know of the benefits. But when we have a family, this can be even more difficult. With life becoming so much busier, it is more difficult to set aside enough time to cook healthy and nutritious meals. And for some children, it can take more than a little persuasion to eat their fruit and vegetables and step away from the junk food.
But, there are simple changes that you can make if order to allow your family to live a much healthier and happier lifestyle.
Have a read through our tips below, some of them can be integrated straight away!
Prepare Breakfasts The Night Before
If, like in most family homes, breakfast time is a rushed and busy affair, then pre plan everyone’s meal. There are many different recipes that can be prepared the night before, providing everyone with a healthy meal to start their day right. Choose filling options to keep everyone full until lunch time, as these will be much better for them than high sugar cereals.
Overnight porridge is an ideal option for this, as it is easily adapted and the oats will provide the energy needed throughout the day:
- ½ cup of milk – try almond or coconut as an alternative to dairy
- ½ porridge oats
- 1 teaspoon of maple syrup/honey
- Toppings of your choice
Mix these in individual bowls, or one big bowl if everyone is having the same, and leave in the fridge overnight. By the next morning the oats will have soaked up all the milk, leaving them creamy and delicious. Add fresh fruit, granola and yoghurt on top, or peanut butter and bananas.
Cook Fresh Whenever You Can
We know this is an obvious one, but most dishes can be made so easily from scratch rather than buying ready meals or pre-made. The difference in nutritional value and quality of the meal will amaze you, and you will be able to add and swap ingredients to suit your family’s tastes. If you’re not used to cooking for the whole family, start off small with easy dishes. Try a stew or casserole first; load a pile of veggies and meat into a slow cooker with some stock, and turn it on in the morning. By the evening you’ll have a delicious meal, and there won’t be much to wash up. If you’re in a rush, then whip up a healthy stir fry with plenty of sugar snap peas and bean sprouts, then sprinkle soy sauce over for an authentic oriental taste.
Writing a meal plan is a great way of staying on track with your families healthy eating. Write out a schedule for the week, taking busy days and planned activities into consideration. This will make shopping much simpler, as you can work from a list and avoid last minute trips in the middle of the week. Get the kids involved and ask what they’d like to eat, allowing them to be a part of the preparation will make them much more willing to go along with it.
Make Sure You Have All The Right Tools
You’re going to need to invest in some equipment and appliances before you can start cooking and baking. Food processors are very handy for chopping vegetables and ingredients, as you will find you’ll be spending longer preparing your meals. If you have a larger family then this could mean you’ll be spending quite a while on this, so an appliance that can do it for you is a god send.
A good quality frying pan is also essential. Using non-stick will mean you’ll need to use less oil, which will cut down on your families calories and fat intake, without compromising on flavour. Shop around and visit le creuset frying pan review before making your decision, as you’ll be using these a lot.
Enjoying family time and sitting down together to eat will always have a positive impact on your family. Ensure everyone is paying attention, and avoid distractions like mobile phones and TV’s. It has been suggested that when we eat without focusing on the task, we can often eat much more than usual, as we aren’t aware of what we’re doing. Dinner times are a great opportunity to discuss the meal with your family, explaining exactly what it is and deciding on what everyone does and doesn’t like about it.
Fill Your Spice Rack
A lot of people complain about how boring and bland healthy food is, after being used to all the sugar, fat and salt in processed foods. Purchase a spice rack, and stock up on spices and herbs to add extra flavour and depth in healthily. Use salt and pepper to season, but don’t over do it, and garlic granules are a useful way of adding extra flavour. Experiment with new flavours and tastes, but incorporate these gradually so that children can adjust to them.
Try Healthy Snacks
We’ve all heard children moaning at 3pm that their hungry and cannot possibly last until dinner time. This is normally the time when you reach for the biscuit barrel or sweetie jar, and the thought of offering them fruit seems like a bad joke. But, there are plenty of healthy snacks you can try that the kids will still enjoy. Store bought can be expensive, so try this flapjack recipe next time the munchies strike!
Makes 12 bars
- 2 1/2 cup of porridge oats
- 2 cups of pre-stoned dates
- 1 cup of dried apricots
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- ½ cup of flaked almonds
- ½ cup of raisins
- ½ cup of margarine or butter
- 3 tablespoons of organic honey
Toast the hazelnuts, before incorporating with all the dry ingredients. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a hob until liquid, and stir in the honey. Mix this together into the other bowl and stir until it is all combined. Spread over over a lined and greased baking tray, leaving it 2 cm thick. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown on top. Cut into pieces, and leave to cool. These can be kept in an airtight container for a few days, but probably won’t last that long!