Sometimes it can feel like you’re trying to tick too many competing boxes with the family’s dinner. You need something that’s quick to prepare and nutritious but you also want to create a meal everyone’s going to tuck into with relish – including the kids.
These five ideas are guaranteed crowd-pleasers and also get plenty of brownie points on the healthy front.
Turkey pasta bake
Why? Turkey is lower in fat than many meats and it’s rich in B3 and B6 for balanced moods, and zinc for the immune system, growth and healthy skin.
At a glance: use minced turkey, cooked with onion and garlic. Stir in cooked penne. Put in an ovenproof dish, cover with a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes and put in the oven for 25 minutes at gas mark 5 (190°C, 375°F).
Baked potato wedges
Why? Lower in fat than regular chips, wedges with skins left on are a good source of fibre and vitamin C.
At a glance: wash and cut medium potatoes lengthways into wedges, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for 35 minutes at gas mark 6 (200°C, 400°F). Serve with baked beans or fish fingers.
Why? It’s good for calcium and protein. Get the kids to top them with colourful slices of peppers and other fresh veg to add to the vitamin count.
At a glance: mix up a pizza dough (flour, warm water, yeast and a little sugar and salt) then leave it to rise for about an hour, roll it out onto an oiled baking tray, add chopped tomatoes and other toppings to taste, bake for about 10-15 minutes at gas mark 7 (220°C, 425°F). Click here for the full homemade pizza recipe
Baked chicken nuggets
Why? Chicken is fairly low-fat and its nutrients not only help the body produce serotonin for a feeling of wellbeing, but are also good for healthy growth. A great source of protein, chicken meals should help you feel satisfied for longer.
At a glance: cut skinned, boned chicken into nugget sizes, dip in egg white and roll in well-seasoned breadcrumbs (put two or three slices of fresh bread in the blender). Place on a greased baking tray and put in the oven at gas mark 6 (200°C, 400°F) for about 15 minutes.
Spaghetti and meatballs
Why? As well as the meat for protein, the tomato sauce here is great for its antioxidant properties and vitamin C.
At a glance: roll homemade meatballs made with lean beef or turkey mince, a little onion and fresh breadcrumbs, then bake these rather than frying them, adding the tomato sauce once the meatballs are browned and well-cooked. Add to cooked spaghetti.
Savvy dinner tips
- Make your own versions of favourite ‘fast’ foods like pizzas and burgers. The kids can join in the preparation and you control the ingredients.
- Bake or grill meals instead of frying.
- Choose smaller, leaner cuts of meat.
- Look at the nutritional content on packaging. In the ‘per 100g’ column, a product that has at least 20g total fat per 100g is very high fat – less than 3g per 100g total fat is considered ‘low fat’.
What are your go-to family dinner ideas? Let us know in the comments section below.