I am keen to get us eating as a family more. Please could you give me some ideas for family meals that the kids will like and that are good for them?
The first step is to check what meals your children would like – you may get ‘takeaway food’ answers like burgers and pizza, but these can easily and healthily be made at home.
In fact, pizza is an ideal food for children to get involved in cooking – even young children can help build their own meal given burger and bun or pizza base with a variety of toppings (including vegetables, such as sliced tomato, strips of peppers, or mushrooms).
If children have a choice, and especially if they help make, their meals, they’re much more likely to want to eat them.
Other simple and appealing options include:
Pasta sauces with hidden vegetables blitzed into them – make enough for Chinese fried rice packed with lots of colourful vegetables and seasoned with reduced-salt soya sauce
DIY wraps with lots of toppings put out on the dinner table, or make them up yourself on sunny days and take them out to the garden for an imprompt picnic.
Combine several colours of vegetable with a starchy food from the bread, other cereals and potato food group and a protein-rich food from the meat, fish, eggs and alternatives food group to make a balanced meal.
You could try a baked potato with baked beans (look for reduced salt and sugar types) with cherry tomatoes and cucumber wheels on the side, home-made chicken nuggets with chunky homemade potato wedges, frozen peas and frozen corn, or a high quality sausage smile with curly pasta hair, carrot nose and courgette eyes.
Often raw vegetables are more popular than cooked, so bowls of chopped peppers, cucumber wheels, carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes can simply be placed on the table as finger foods. If you have a few extra minutes to make food into a face on the plate for younger children, the vegetables will disappear twice as fast.