There are not many things more precious than sitting around the dinner table with your family every night. Whether you have a young bub, multiple young children, teenagers or all of the above, dinner time is the main event and it has to please everyone!
Putting together something nutritious and delicious that is also easy to prepare is just one of the many challenges parents face on a daily basis. And that's not even including the added extras like birthday parties, entertaining and other special occasions. So here we've gathered all kinds of tips, information, family friendly recipes to make things a little easier come meal times.
Michelle Bridges: Healthy eating tipsView all videos
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Healthy food for the family
- Cooking with healthy, unprocessed ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, seeds and whole grains is important for any family. Everyone needs their nutrients, especially growing kids!
- Include vegetables in every meal, particularly green leafy ones. The house favourite may be potato, but try to avoid serving it on its own.
- If there are some fussy eaters in the house simply grate up some veggies where they can’t see them. Works perfectly in sauces, pies, lasagne and more – get creative!
- Running out of time for cooking during the week? Try making a couple of dishes on the weekend and freezing the remainder to serve on those busy weeknights.
- Have a baby eating with you? Try cooking foods that can be easily pureed – not having to make a special meal for bub will save you some time and ensures that your little one is also getting everything they need from their grown-up diet.
- It’s hard to keep track of what you’re eating when you’re busy taking care of the rest of the family. Check out some of our healthy options that may assist with weight loss.
If you’re after some cooking inspiration you’ve come to the right place! We’ve asked heaps of real mums what their favourite family meals are. If you have a tip of your own, sign in below and share it with us.
Michelle: Chicken parma and vegetables.
Helina: Roast pork and veggies.
Nicole: Chicken and vegetable lasagna, mmmm…..
Mecala: Chicken pasta bake.
Nicola: Honey mustard chicken and rice!
Amanda: Spiced chicken slow cooked with potato mash and the kids favourite veggies and home made garlic bread…with homemade blueberry jelly for dessert!
Melissa: Spinach and ricotta cannelloni.
Sarah: Homemade spaghetti and meatballs…yummy!
Julie: Homemade beef rissoles with potato mash and veggies!
Janelle: Apricot chicken, rice and veggies.
Easy family recipes
We understand that feeding a whole family and keeping everyone happy is no easy task, which is why we’ve taken the effort out and only sourced easy to cook family recipes for you. It will take at least some of the stress out of it! We also have a section on quick healthy food, which includes a mixture of recipes for the family and recipes for grown-ups.
You’ll find everything from family dinner recipes and kids party food to Easter and Christmas recipes you can enjoy with the kids. We’ve also included some more grown-up recipes in case you can’t handle another bowl of spaghetti bolognaise!
Getting the kids to eat their veggies
It can be quite frustrating when the only vegetable your kids will even consider eating is potato, but there are a lot of ways you can get them eating healthy without having to force feed them their greens.
- Try making their day time snacks healthy fruit and vegetables and don’t be afraid to get creative to make them more interested. For example, don’t just hand them an apple – chop up a variety of colourful fruits and make fruit kebabs!
- Instead of lollies and chocolate chop up some crunchy carrot and celery sticks and serve it with some hommous or salsa.
- Teach the kids about why vegetables are important and how they’re beneficial to their bodies. If you associate a positive action with the vegetable, they’ll start to understand why they need it.
- Let the little ones help out with the cooking. Depending on how old they are they can help chop or peel veggies, or if they’re a bit younger they can help stir the pot or throw some ingredients into the pan!
- If they’re really fussy just grate up some some veggies where they can’t see them. This works well in any sauce!
- Always eat the same foods in front of them and lead by example. If mum and dad aren’t eating veggies, why should they?
Baking for kids parties and special occasions
Kids parties are a great opportunity to really get creative with food. We’ve got a whole page on kids party ideas, as well as kids party food to give you some inspiration. Special occasions like Christmas also provide a great chance to get into the spirit and have fun baking with the kids. For more information and recipes, see our Christmas baking section.
Looking after you
As parents we are often so concerned with what the kids are eating that it can be easy to completely forget about ourselves and our own diets. It’s so important to keep up a healthy diet when you’re looking after a family. Check out our healthy lifestyle tips for new parents for more ways to stay healthy for your kids.
When you’re busy taking care of a family it’s so easy to fall into the habit of eating exactly what the kids eat. Unfortunately, Vegemite sandwiches and spaghetti bolognaise aren’t always the best foods for getting in shape! Take the time to prepare food just for you. It doesn’t have to be a major effort and can often just come down to skipping the mashed potato in favour of more green veggies or saying no to melted cheese on top of dinner. Check out our weight loss information and recipes for some more ideas.