Wednesday, 30 August 2017

How to Get the Whole Family to Eat Healthier (and enjoy it)

Even if you know that eating healthy can be beneficial for a number of reasons, convincing the rest of the family to eat their greens and watch their sugar intake can sometimes be a little tricky – especially the kids, or the husband with a chocolate habit!

Whilst ‘clean eaters’ can sometimes be a take things a little far (I’m not about to convince you to go vegan and replace your coffee for Matcha tea) we could probably all do with eating a little better from time to time, even if that just means good, home-cooked meals rather than a quick frozen pizza, or fruit instead of chocolate for a dessert/snack.

Changing bad eating habits can often be difficult but here are some tips to make sure you and the family stay on the right track when it comes to cooking healthier meals.

Meal Prep!



Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a Michelin star chef to produce a decent home cooked meal. Of course, even if you do fancy yourself as a bit of a Jamie, life can usually get in the way and there just isn’t enough hours in the day to cook everything from scratch all week. This is where making and freezing meals in bulk can be a lifesaver.

Bulk cooking is literally so easy once you get the hang of it, and not only does it mean you’ll have a good hearty meal to feed the family with just a simple ping of the microwave, it also means you’ll save yourself a hell of a lot of money. Bulk recipe ideas are all over the internet, but if you want simple and convenient and who doesn’t, then why not opt for things like casseroles, stews and curries that are packed full of flavour as well as getting in those all-important veggies without the kids noticing.


A great way of doing this is throwing a load of veggies into a pan or slow cooker along with some chopped garlic, one or two tins of tomatoes, a stock cube and something to bulk it out such as lentils (which cost next to nothing!). To get the flavouring, try spice mixes, packet or store cupboard spices, such as Garam Masala, Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper. If you’re on a budget, this recipe is great as it is, but if your family are big meat eaters, throw in some chicken or turkey and cook it all together until the meat is cooked through. Once ready, spoon into Tupperware containers and chuck in the freezer, with a label of what the dish is and when it was made.  All you need to do then is defrost thoroughly and heat through well before serving.

Use Raw Ingredients



Things like jars of sauces can often catch people out when it comes to a healthy meal. A lot of these ready made sauces are delicious but have a high sugar and salt content and if you are cooking a bolognaise a curry or a stir fry, can often take the calorie and sugar content of freshly homemade meal through the roof. The best alternative is to simply make your own sauces which is definitely a lot easier than it sounds. 

For example, a quick bolognaise sauce can be whipped up in seconds using fresh or tinned tomatoes, oregano, basil leaves, tomato puree, veggie stock and garlic. Blend for a smooth sauce or keep it chunky if you want more texture. Add browned turkey mince, which is lower in fat than minced beef or Quorn to get extra protein. Serve with whole wheat spaghetti for extra fibre. A great sticky stir fry sauce is a little honey/agave, fresh or ground ginger, lime and soy.  It's certainly worth thinking twice before you buy the jar next time!

Be Mindful 


More often than not, we are so rushed during the week, with the kids doing their activities and with our own schedule that we often forget to actually sit down and eat. We’ll grab something here, a handful of crisps there, a quick sandwich in between chores and before we know it we haven’t actually eaten a proper meal. We can often resort to junk food too. 

Mindful eating is a great thing to practice with the whole family and is well worth trying to achieve if you can. Make your kitchen/dining room a comfortable eating space, find some great ambient kitchen lighting and comfortable furniture and get the whole family to sit around the table. Actually concentrating on what we’re eating whilst eating it, as opposed to watching TV or checking your Instagram or emails can ultimately satisfy our hunger a lot more, which in turn will lead to less temptation for sugary snacks before bedtime. 

This is also a great way of catching up with everyone. If you are going all out and have planned dessert for after dinner – or if the kids are still hungry – then why not swap the shop bought cakes and cookies for a homemade, low sugar alternative? A great sweet treat guaranteed to satisfy young and old are homemade chocolate chip flapjacks. To make combine coconut oil, agave, jumbo porridge oats, pumpkin seeds, Chia seeds and dark chocolate chips in a mixing bowl. Mix until the mixture sticks and spread over a greased baking tray. Bake until golden, leave to cool and cut into squares. Easy peasy.

Fakeaways


You might already be aware, but the ‘Fakeaway’ is a new foodie craze that has taken Instagram by storm. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the occasional takeaway as a family treat, but if you find you’re always reaching for that menu on a Friday, it’s time to make a change. Regular takeaways are unkind on both the waistline and the bank balance but it doesn’t mean you have to give them up completely. Creating your own versions of a Fakeaway will save you calories as well as money, and they will hopefully still hit the spot. You can even make your Fakeaway curry in advance and pop it into foil containers or take away boxes for an authentic look.

A great Fakeaway is a homemade pizza on wholemeal tortillas and these are also great for making with the kids. Take wholemeal tortillas or pittas and smother with tomato puree. Add any toppings of your choice and sprinkle with cheese (mozzarella or cheddar depending on what you prefer!) bake in the oven like you would a normal pizza for around 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted being careful not to burn the tortilla. Delicious.

Tell me your ideas for family meals that are healthier.

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9 comments

  1. I really love the idea of a fakeaway and you do make it sound really easy x

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  2. I do cook from fresh a lot more than I used to, I rarely ever use ready meals or prepared pasta sauces etc x

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  3. I'd love to have the time to make my own sauces at home! I know the store bought ones can be unhealthy but they're so much better than anything I could make!

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  4. Less sugar in homecooking from scratch makes almost every meal healthier. I had no idea there is so much sugar in store bought meals; raw ingrenedings don't have it :-)

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  5. I'd not heard of the fakeaway trend yet, but I really like the sound of it! I make quite a bit of chinese-style food (taught by someone actually from China) so I could start putting it in takeaway boxes and see if anyone notices, haha

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  6. I'm not a fan of eating out but my family is. And they're still not sold on the idea of fakeaway.

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  7. Love the idea of a fakeaway- will have to see if this works on the kids

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  8. I love all of your ideas. As a busy, working mum meal planning and prep are what keep us running. I'm a big believer in making healthier meals myself too. I've never tried fakeaways...off to look up recipes for my favourites now!

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  9. I love the idea of fakeaways, I haven't heard of that term before but will definitely be embracing!

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