5 food swaps to make your favourite family recipes even healthier

We all have those dependable dishes we turn to time and again. But what if you want these comfort eats to win on the healthy front too?

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What are the old favourite recipes in your kitchen that win over every member of the family? Chances are, it’s easy to make them healthier for everyone. Simple ideas make a difference here, from choosing leaner cuts of meat to baking or grilling instead of frying. Don’t forget you can make your own version of fast-food favourites, too, to keep the youngsters happy. They’ll be tastier as well as healthier.

1. Turkey pasta bake

Even the name ‘pasta bake’ is comforting. Throw some turkey into the mix and you can take extra comfort knowing you’re getting a healthier protein, too. It’s also super easy to stretch if you need to feed more mouths – just add a bit more penne.

Healthy food swap because:
Turkey is naturally low in fat. It’s also a great source of key nutrients for health, such as the B-vitamins, phosphorus, selenium and potassium.

At-a-glance recipe:
Use minced turkey instead of beef to make your favourite Bolognese. Stir into cooked penne and then bake in the oven for 25 minutes at gas mark 5 (190°C, 375°F).

2. Baked potato wedges

The whole world loves a chip, but wedges are their healthier cousin.

Healthier option because:
Wedges are lower in fat than regular chips, and with skins left on are a good source of fibre and vitamin C.

At-a-glance recipe:
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).

3. Homemade pizza

Pizza is a sure-fire hit with pretty much everyone. But it doesn’t have to come in a box to deliver on taste – how about making your own instead?

Healthier option because:
With the right toppings, they’re good for calcium and protein. Top your pizzas with colourful slices of peppers and other fresh veg to up the vitamin count.

At-a-glance recipe:
Mix up a pizza dough (flour, warm water, yeast and a little sugar and salt) then leave it to rise for about an hour, before rolling out and placing on an oiled baking tray. Add tomato sauce and the toppings of your choice before baking for about 10-15 minutes at gas mark 7 (220°C, 425°F).

4. Baked chicken goujon

Goujons are a grown-up take on the ubiquitous chicken nuggets, and can still be finger-licking good.

Healthier food choice because:
Chicken is not only low in fat, but its nutrients help the body produce serotonin for a feeling of wellbeing. It’s also a good source of protein.

At-a-glance recipe:
Cut skinless, boneless chicken into goujons, dip in egg white and roll in well-seasoned breadcrumbs. Place on a greased baking tray and put in the oven at gas mark 6 (200°C, 400°F) for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.

5. Spaghetti and meatballs

Transforming everyday tables into Italian trattorias, this classic dish never fails to please.

Healthier option because:
As well as the meat for protein, the intense tomato sauce here is great for its antioxidant properties and vitamin C.

At-a-glance recipe:
Make homemade meatballs with either turkey or lean beef mince, then bake rather than fry. Add the tomato sauce once the meatballs are browned and well-cooked. Serve with cooked spaghetti.

Make the washing up a breeze

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What are the meals you rely on over and over to feed the hungry hordes? What about your healthy twists on recipes? We’d love to hear them – leave your comments below.