Healthy Meals For the Whole Family

Ever since I started my weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey, the biggest change I have had to make has been to my diet. Of course you can imagine how much of a struggle it has been trying to get my family on the healthy eating wagon too. Having 4 mouths to feed in my home daily – 2 adults, a toddler and a weaning infant – it’s very easy to fall into the trap of “preparing what everyone likes” for them which results in countless hours spent in the kitchen. Here are some helpful habits that I believe can help you take better control of what your family is eating and make meal times less stressful; Meal Prep I can’t stress enough how important this is. Find a day that works for you, block out a few hours and prepare your meals for the week. Or if you can’t block of hours in one day, do it over a few days – for example at the start of the week (Sunday) and mid-week (Wednesday). Meal prep is a really good idea for the following reasons;
  • It reduces the amount of time spent in the kitchen daily.
  • It helps you not to fall into the trap that asking the question “What does everyone want to eat?” creates, because it’s very likely that everyone will want something different! Offer just one meal and amend for toddlers or infants.
  • For busy/ working mums you won’t be tempted to just stop at McDonalds or Wendy’s on the way home because there is nothing in the fridge
Offer Options I always prepare various protein options (Chicken, Fish etc.) and in different forms (stewed, grilled, in a soup) for the family to choose from. It’s easy to conclude that our kids are “picky eaters” when we only offer them the same things over and over again. You can also make a weekly menu for your family and display it in a conspicuous place so that everyone knows what’s coming. Kids like to “look forward” to their favorites, so they are likely to eat something that they are not crazy about today if they know they will get to eat something they love tomorrow. Make Healthy Substitutes/Choices Being Nigerian, my family definitely has their taste bods conditioned towards Nigerian food and tastes which can be very starchy, carby and high in oils. In an attempt to provide healthier options without totally depriving us of our Nigerian food you can do the following;
    •  Make jollof/fried rice with healthier white rice substitutes like bulgur wheat or brown rice ,
    • Make “yam porridge” with sweet potatoes
    • Reduce the oil! Make your tomato stew and Efo (Spinach) without oil, trust me it still tastes great!
Teach Your Kids (and Spouse) to make Healthy Choices My toddler does not like to see different things in his plate, so I offer one food group at a time. When he asks for more I offer more of the veggies or fruits and protein. A avoid offering more carbs because it teaches kids how to overeat! For my weaning infant, I do the following;
  • If the food is soft/chewable enough I simply cut it up and place it in front of her to eat at her leisure.
  • If the food is something she could choke on I simply puree it in a baby bullet and feed it to her.
This might sound like a funny tip but I believe it worth trying. I often help my hubby serve his food so that I can put the different food groups in the right portions for him 😀