You, your family and healthy eating
Providing yourself and your family with healthy food and snacks is a never-ending task. Sometimes it feels like a heavy burden to meet everyone’s needs, other times it is easier and sometimes you might even be inspired.
There is no single easy way to do this (unless, of course, you can outsource completely!).
Here are some tips that might make it a bit easier.
First up some planning:
We are going to start with dinner as that seems to be the one most people struggle with.
Think about the regular meals you provide your family and reflect your tastes and traditions. It might look something like the table below. You can use the PDF download to plan your weekly menu in a similar way.
Then once a week make a list of what meals the family will have that week. For example:
- Monday; homemade burgers
- Tuesday; pesto pasta
- Wednesday; shepherds pie
- Thursday; chicken casserole
- Friday; pizza (take away)
Then build your shopping list. Here is an example;
If you don’t have to go to the shops after a busy day, then you are much more likely to follow through with your plans. Having the food (including the vegetables!) makes it easier.
Secondly, think about what to buy and where to shop:
- We all know markets are generally cheaper but for some of us this is not practical with timings, parking and so on. Most of the supermarkets have good quality meat, dairy and fruit and vegetables and you can do it all in one go which is time-saving
- Buying in bulk can be cheaper too, but only if you can store or use the food you buy. There is no point buying a box of tomatoes if you can’t eat them or cook them into something for later within the week!
- Many people buy much bigger serves of meat than is needed even for active adults. When buying meat, chicken or fish aim for 100-150g per person. So, if you have a family of five, 500g should be ample quantity
- Plates (and tummies) should be filled with more vegetables, salads and grains. Remember to aim for about half of the plate as vegetables—lots of different colours is great
- Vegetables can be fresh (steamed, baked or raw), canned or frozen. Frozen corn cobs or peas are easy to use to start with and quick to prepare
- Many casseroles and curries taste great and can be extended by adding some red lentils at the start of the cooking time or a tin of chickpeas, cannellini or kidney beans towards the end of the cooking time. Put these on your shopping list!
- The other part of the meal should consist of carbohydrates as the energy source… this can be rice, pasta, potatoes or bread. Wholemeal versions are good if you enjoy eating them- give them a try!
- If you have an especially fussy eater consider how you can try to modify family meals for them so you don’t end up cooking different meals each night. Is there particular ingredients you can add at the last minute for the rest of the family, or would changing the texture by mashing their serve for instance make it more acceptable for your child.