Family cooking can be tricky, especially when dealing with many kids or extended family under one roof. From cooking the right amounts to ensuring a healthy result, while still taking into account what people may or may not eat, not to mention the time it takes to prepare these meals…yes, family cooking can get exhausting. But no matter what your solution may look like, you’re likely to find that cooking healthy family meals at home is the best way to keep both your wallet happy and your family healthy.
Usually cooking the right amount is the first tricky step to tackle. How much pasta or vegetables will be eaten? How much meat can be made, if any at all? Luckily for you, leftover healthy food is a saving grace. Simply pack extra food away in an air tight container Four Side Locked container and you will have food at the ready when kids come home hungry. Now here are some more pointers to remember when cooking a quick, healthy meal for your family.
Convenience isn’t always “less healthy”
Frozen vegetables are often seen as less healthy or depleted of nutrients, however these frozen packs are roughly as good for you as fresh vegetables. Your supermarket is full of things that can get you at least halfway to a finished dinner, with most or all of the benefits of starting from absolute scratch. This allows you to cut cooking time while still providing your family with all the nourishment they need daily. Frozen fruit is also often better for baking than fresh fruit. Frozen fruits and vegetables also tend to be picked at the peak of ripeness compared to fresh produce which is often picked early, to make up for the time it takes to get to the store. Frozen food also lasts a lot longer which can greatly lower the amount of fresh food waste you produce. Canned fruits and vegetables however are a little different – you’ve got to watch out for excess sugar and salt.
Here are a few quick, healthy cooking ideas for you and your family to enjoy using convenience style foods – home cooked meals in minutes:
- Pesto pasta: Cook pasta, toss in some pesto sauce, add canned (or fresh) tomatoes, canned artichoke hearts, and canned salmon or frozen shrimp. Once everything’s warm, it’s ready to eat!
- Stir fry: Buy chicken or beef, brown in a pan, and add stir-fry vegetables (sold pre-mixed in the freezer section) with some soy sauce or an oriental sauce of your choosing, to suit your family’s tastes. Enjoyed commonly over rice.
- Lazy Man’s Shepherd Pie: Brown hamburger, microwave frozen peas, and prepare mashed potatoes. Simple, easy and energy filled, for your family.
Invest in Cooking Convenience
If you have less space in your kitchen and some cash handy, investing in a few convenience tools for cooking – it can save a lot of time and hassle when whipping up family meals. Here are a few items that can make your cooking routine a little bit easier.
- A rice cooker: an amazing kitchen tool to have. Whole meals can be made by tossing uncooked rice, still-frozen veggies, sausage, salt, and a few spices into the rice cooker, pressing “cook,” and walking away.
- A slow cooker/crock-pot: A very similar idea to the rice cooker. Just dump in all the ingredients (fresh, frozen, bottled, canned or from a packet), turn it on and go off to take care of whatever else that needs to be done. When you come back in a few hours, you’ll be welcomed by the wonderful smells of a delicious, healthy, home-cooked meal.
- A pressure cooker: This serves the opposite purpose of the slow cooker. On a busy day, dump all the ingredients in a pressure cooker and have the meal done in a matter of minutes. It’s particularly good for meat or corn on the cob. It takes some practice to make sure that you don’t end up overcooking the food, but the time spent on mastering it is well worth it at the end of the day.
Use a Simple Rule of Thumb
- Eat your colours. While it may be a simplified way to do it, many food colours are representative of their nutritional value. Eating a balance of colours can be a quick way to ensure your family are getting a bit of everything in a meal.
- A protein, a starch, a vegetable. This traditional formula is the simplest way to plan dinners. You can fine-tune it for your family, or incorporate modern specifics about food groups and proportions, but even the bare-bones version will get you a good, balanced meal.
Family cooking can be tricky at times, from keeping your loved ones healthy to balancing your day’s energy. Using a few of these tips and tricks, you can be on your way to a prepared meal design for the busy year ahead.