Tag Archives: family meals

Saving my sanity by meal planning – simple family meals.

One of the things I am passionate about is making food simple. If you have time and can afford to be fancy with your meals then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Go for it. Normal life for my family in the week involves basic range ingredients, plenty of fresh and frozen veggies and quick meals.  So that is what I am sharing with you today.  Trust me, as a working single mum to 3 wonderfully active, inquisitive, helpful kids (you could read that as noisy, full of questions and chatter, like to stick their fingers where I don’t want them to) I need fast food. However I am wheat intolerant (the proper kind where eating wheat upsets my digestive system for several days) and my boy is lactose intolerance – which quite frankly sucks for him. So we have to cook from scratch. 

I aim to plan at the weekend. This sometimes involves a bit of “get ahead cooking” where I cook a few meals for Monday and Tuesday in advance, or it just comes down to a vague plan. Either way without a rough plan my head gets super stressed.

Family meal ideas for busy parents from a dietitian

“What am I cooking today? How will I fit it into my day? Do I have the ingredients?  Do I have time to get to the shop?”  These are questions that will float around my head taking up valuable time and energy. With a plan I’m part way there and will prep a bit throughout my day. That could mean I prep the veggies or even just get the ingredients out on the worktop so I can cook after the school run. It all helps.

So here is an example of our weeks meals and some of the recipes I cook. Simple things my children eat and that work with our dietary needs. I hope it gives you some inspiration.

 

One Pot Pepper Pasta:

This is one of those meals which I love to make as it is so easy, there is minimal washing up and my kids love it. WINNER.

It’s also a vegetarian, plant based and vegan recipe. So if you are looking for simple ways to increase your vegetable intake here you go. Of course you can totally make this your own and add in any veggies you like.

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One Pot Red Pepper Pasta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 large red peppers Thickly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium courgette grated
  • 1 tin sweetcorn
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • pinch paprika
  • pinch dried mixed herbs
  • 300g dried pasta
  • 750ml boiling water
  • 50g grated cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in the pan, add the garlic and gently cook.

  2. Add in the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes

  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs and spices. Bring to a simmer. 

  4. Add the pasta and water, stir well and bring to a simmer.

  5. Lid on and simmer 12-15 minutes until the pasta is cooked.

  6. Season and serve with grated cheese. 

Fish Pesto Parcels:

These are so simple that I like to get my kids to make their own. That way they can’t moan about the veggies I’ve put in! 

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Fish Pesto Parcels

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 400 g white fish (can be frozen and defrosted)
  • 2 carrots, chunkily sliced
  • 1/2 broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 courgette, chunkily sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thick slices
  • 4 tsp pesto
  • 12 small potatoes (if they are too large they will not cook in time so slice up using large potato)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7

  2. Lay out a square of foil big enough to pop everything in and seal up. About 1.5 times your dinner plate. 

  3. Place a selection of veggies and potatoes on the foil, top with the fish and spread 1 tsp pesto on top.

  4. Fold the foil parcel up so everything is covered and pop onto a baking tray.

  5. Bake for 20 minutes

Lentil Bolognaise:

A regular favourite for us and so versatile. You can use up your odds and ends of veggies, and make this into lasagne, cottage pie of as a bolognaise. It freezes super well too.

Recipe here.

Salmon and Broccoli Risotto:

Perfect weaning food and a great meal to get veggies into! I usually grate a courgette in to boost the veggies up.

Recipe here.

Pizza Wraps:

Literally the easiest thing on a Friday after school. I give the kids a wrap, squirt tomato puree on, they pile on toppings from a selection on a chopping board and we cook them for 10 minutes at Gas Mark 5. Do keep a close eye on them as they cook very quickly! 

Chicken Satay Stir Fry:

You can’t beat a stir fry for ease. My kids love peanut butter so satay is usually a winner. Totally use a frozen veg mix or a stir fry pack for ease if you want to. Serve with noodles or rice.

Recipe here

Sausages and wedges:

As much as I like to have some plant based meals in our week my kids are firm fans of sausages. I’ve been using some meat free variations out and they have been largely successful, plus easy to cook straight from frozen – so do think about the meat free range. No recipe as I literally cook the sausages in the oven, along with potatoes cut into wedges with olive oil and garlic on them. Serve with veggies! 

I hope these are helpful and give you some ideas on how to keep meals simple in your week. I’d love to hear your ideas too as I always need inspiration.

Slow cooker chicken casserole

The temperature is set to drop. For me that means it’s time to bring out the slow cooker. What I love is how such little effort brings such great rewards. This chicken casserole took minutes to prepare, hours to cook and then was devoured. Plus the house smells amazing when you get home. 

So here is the recipe for you. This is totally something to make your own, use whatever you have in your store cupboards remembering to add a little liquid but not too much!

I served ours with extra veggies on the side (I have a broccoli addict of a child) and rice. My children love a slow cooker meal as it’s always so soft, easy to cut and chew.

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Slow cooker chicken casserole

Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 adults

Ingredients

  • 400 g chicken thigh fillets
  • 4 carrots chopped chunky
  • 2 green peppers chopped chunky
  • 2 onions chopped chunky
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 reduced salt stock cube
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150 ml water

Instructions

  1. Prepare the veggies.



  2. Pop into the slow cooker with the chicken and all other ingredients.


  3. Cook on high for 5 hours.

 

Family friendly “not a chicken curry”

Usually my children are not so keen on curry, however being half Sri-lankan this is not an option for me! My oldest girl used to eat a lot of spice, in fact at 22 months in Sri-Lanka she was eating curry off my plate. She went off spice and is now age 7 working back onto it. My boy has never been into anything spicy and so he is definitely a work in progress.

So this time I went at it from another angle. A fragrant but mild curry served with rice and optional naan on the side. However I sold it as “it’s not a curry, it’s chicken with naan”.  It worked. WIN.

The beauty of this meal is it can either be made in the slow cooker/crock pot or on the hob.

Here is the recipe:

Family Friendly Chicken and Naan
Serves 4
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504 calories
39 g
115 g
17 g
48 g
7 g
454 g
363 g
14 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
454g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 504
Calories from Fat 147
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g
26%
Saturated Fat 7g
33%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 115mg
38%
Sodium 363mg
15%
Total Carbohydrates 39g
13%
Dietary Fiber 12g
49%
Sugars 14g
Protein 48g
Vitamin A
192%
Vitamin C
141%
Calcium
7%
Iron
25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 500g chicken on the bone, skinless
  3. 2 onions
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. 2 peppers
  6. 3 carrots
  7. 500ml chicken stock (mine was homemade)
  8. 50g sachet creamed coconut
  9. 1 tsp tumeric
  10. 1 tsp cumin
  11. 1 tsp coriander
  12. 1/4 inch fresh/frozen ginger, grated
  13. 1/2 cup dried lentils
Instructions
  1. Brown the chicken in a pan. Add the onions and garlic to soften them.
  2. Then either place all ingredients in a slow cooker/crock pot and place on high for 8 hrs.
  3. Or cook in a large pan on a medium heat for 40 minutes.
  4. Serve with rice and naan if wanted.
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calories
504
fat
17g
protein
48g
carbs
39g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
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Let the children lead the way

Ever get the feeling that the children in the house are in charge? Oh my days, I know I sometimes feel like I just run from child to child doing things for them! 

Letting them be in charge of some things can be empowering and really positive. When you think about it there isn’t that much that they are actually in charge of. That can be hard as these little people want a chance to grow their independence and show their preferences. Eating is one of the ways that they can do this. So from a very early age they can show which foods they like/dislike and how much they want to eat. As parents it is whether we take note of these signs or think we now better! I’m trying to raise my children as intuitive eaters but it is hard as often I think I know their tummies better than they do. I then have to sit back, breathe and let them lead. When you are in a rush or have other children to also look after it can be frustrating to do this but we are setting our children up for life. I want mine to know how to pause, think about how their bodies feel and then respond accordingly and not be rushed because I have a schedule.

I find toddlers fascinating as they are so in tune with their bodies. My 22 month old will literally refuse to eat when she doesn’t want to, there is no way I can force her. She now chooses what she wants to eat from a selection of foods and she tell me when she is hungry with “Eaaaaaa” or “Snaaaaa”.  A funny example this week was when I made a cake for Mothers Day and then we had some for pudding. However the toddler shunned it and ate a bowl of peas instead! 

As we grow up eating becomes more complicated. Foods plays more of a social role, there is an enjoyment factor and just seeing things that you fancy. Advertising, being around food, media and other peoples food choices also influence us. This is why I think it is SO important to encourage our children to build great relationships with food whilst they are young and to continually reinforce these principles:

 

  1. Listen to Hunger – eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Think about your hunger at the start, middle and end of mealtimes. I sometimes talk about hunger being a butterfly in your tummy that grows to a dinosaur. Where are you on that scale?
  2. Listen to Fullness – this can be fun with kids. My 4 yr old boy pokes his tummy and that can help him connect with how full he is. My 7 yr old girl just knows and will leave her food for later.
  3. Eat a balance –  I teach my kids that all foods are great but that our bodies need balance for energy, protein for building, fat to keep us warm and protect our organs and all the vitamins/minerals to keep it working properly. 
  4. There are no good/bad foods. I love this conversation with my children. We’ve used plastic foods to group them into food groups and then talked about what all the foods contain that is great for our bodies. Instead of foods being good/bad for us I talk about how we need to moderate foods that are higher in sugar due to our teeth and balance our snacks as biscuits don’t keep us full for long. 

I’d totally encourage you to let your children lead a bit more with food. If you want more tips on how we do this at home then do let me know. 

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Salmon and Spinach Fishcakes

It’s been a hot week, needing summer food. These salmon and spinach fishcakes hit the spot. Yes you have to put the oven on to cook them but they can be prepared ahead of time and then served hot or cold. They also freeze well, I always mean to make extra for this purpose but then the kids eat them all!

I must admit to my brain needing a kick start to come up with ideas for summer food. My family aren’t huge salad lovers, so all those beautiful salads that my mind fancies have to take a step back. It is like digging up buried treasure, deep in the recesses of my dusty brain were recipes I haven’t made for well over a year. This was one of them. The hardest part about these is getting the breadcrumbs on them, which really even my toddler can do. In fact, maybe next time I should get the kids to cook these and sit down with a cuppa. 

The salmon provides a great source of omega 3’s needed for brain development and cognitive function, heart health and reduction of inflammation. They can be beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis and depression. It is recommended that we eat 2 portions of fish a week of which one should be healthy. I try to ensure my family get 1 portion a week in their evening meal and it is usually salmon that we favour. I’ve used tinned salmon for ease in these, to save extra faff and cooking.

Spinach is a great source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and vitamin C. It is a source of dietary fibre, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc. Using frozen spinach again saved cooking and I find it easier in dishes like this. Frozen spinach is such a versatile and great ingredient to have on standby. If you don’t have frozen spinach in your life, go and get some. 

So the iron and omega 3 content also make this recipe a great one for pregnant ladies and for toddlers. A great family meal, one where you can cook just the one meal for all. I served ours with courgetti cooked in the wok with lemon juice and garlic, plus homemade coleslaw. 

 

Salmon and Spinach Fishcakes
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
389 calories
23 g
105 g
13 g
42 g
3 g
293 g
232 g
1 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
293g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 389
Calories from Fat 120
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
21%
Saturated Fat 3g
16%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 105mg
35%
Sodium 232mg
10%
Total Carbohydrates 23g
8%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 1g
Protein 42g
Vitamin A
16%
Vitamin C
17%
Calcium
4%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 500g potatoes, skin on for extra fibre and for speed
  2. handful of frozen spinach (I used 4 lumps)
  3. 1 tbsp butter
  4. 2 tins salmon
  5. 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  6. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  7. 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  8. 1 tbsp fresh chives
  9. seasoning
  10. Breadcrumbs or polenta (see below)
Instructions
  1. Wash the potatoes, cut into small chunk and boil. Add the frozen spinach for the last few minutes.
  2. When soft mash the potato and spinach, leave to cool.
  3. Mix in the salmon, mustard and lemon juice, parsley, chives and seasoning.
  4. Now comes the fun part, shape into patties with your hands.
  5. Roll in the breadcrumbs.
  6. Now you can leave these to chill until you want to cook, freeze them or cook straight away.
  7. Cook at Gas Mark 6 for 10-15 minutes.
Notes
  1. I used bought breadcrumbs for the family, as they were in the cupboard and then I used cornmeal for my own fishcakes to make them wheat free. The picture above is of my wheat free fishcake with the polenta crumb.
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calories
389
fat
13g
protein
42g
carbs
23g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

 

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Vegetarian Moussaka and going meat free for a week.

This week we went Vegetarian for National Vegetarian Week. As a family we always have at least 3 meat free meals a week, so this was a good chance to unleash some new recipe ideas. To be honest I don’t think the family really noticed the lack of meat, though they would do if carried this on for a few weeks. I love vegetarian meals and would probably be one if I wasn’t cooking for the whole family. Eating more plant based meals is better for the environment, a more sustainable way of eating and has some fabulous health benefits too.

Our week of vegetarian meals:

Vegetarian Moussaka, Leek and Stilton Risotto, Courgette and Lentil Lasagne, Vegetable egg Stir fry rice, Quorn Bolognaise and Roasted Veggie Pasta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moussaka is something I’d seen a variation on in a gluten free recipe book that I’ve had hanging around for ages. I used soya milk to make it lactose free for my boy – omit the cheese to make it dairy free. A few adaptations made this a super simple meal that is going to stay on our meal list.

 

Vegetarian Moussaka
Serves 4
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
494 calories
81 g
19 g
12 g
15 g
4 g
509 g
124 g
13 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
509g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 494
Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
19%
Saturated Fat 4g
21%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 19mg
6%
Sodium 124mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 81g
27%
Dietary Fiber 7g
29%
Sugars 13g
Protein 15g
Vitamin A
30%
Vitamin C
35%
Calcium
24%
Iron
10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 tsp olive oil
  2. 1 large aubergine
  3. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  4. 1 medium onion, chopped
  5. 2 tbsp white wine
  6. 150g mushrooms, chopped
  7. 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  8. 1 tbsp tomato puree
  9. 1 tbsp chopped chives
  10. 1 tsp paprika
  11. 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice
Sauce
  1. 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  2. 1 tbsp cornflour
  3. 400ml soya milk
  4. 40g grated cheese
Instructions
  1. Slice the aubergine, onion and garlic.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil on a medium heat.
  3. Add 2 tbsp white wine and the mushrooms, cook for a few minutes to soften.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, puree, chives, paprika and rice.
  5. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes whilst you make the sauce.
  6. Heat the oil, add cornflour and turn the heat low.
  7. Add 1/3 soya milk and stir well, add the rest of the milk and increase the heat to medium, carry on stirring as the sauce thickens.
  8. Layer the rice mix with the aubergine, then the rice and the aubergine.
  9. Top with the sauce and sprinkle the cheese.
  10. Cook in the oven at Gas Mark 5 for 30 minutes.
beta
calories
494
fat
12g
protein
15g
carbs
81g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Chicken Satay Stir Fry

This week I’ve had a sudden creative burst and have been playing around with new recipe ideas. Typically not the best week for it as Miss K has had earache and tummyache, the boy is tired and the baby teething, but cooking and creating is one of my outlets.

I saw a recipe for chicken satay and it got my brain ticking. I wanted the satay taste with plenty of veggies and no skewers (imagine a 3 year old knight enthuisiast of a boy trying to sword fight across the table with his sister, I’d prefer not to visit A&E thanks). Initially I was thinking of cooking it on skewers and then removing them before serving, but that felt like an unnecessary step, plus someone was bound to want to help me with the skewer preparation part. I decided the 3 year old needed both his eyes, so went back to my roots and turned to my trusty wok.

The chicken was marinaded for a couple of hours (mixed up pre-school run) and I prepped the veggies at the same time, then popped them in a ziplock bag in the fridge, which meant this took minutes to cook. You could do this prep the night before and cook dinner in 10-15 minutes.

Dietitian UK: Satay chicken stirfry 1

I totally loved this meal, the rest of the family were all feeling a bit meh, so not feedback from them, except clean plates. This hit my peanut craving right on the head and the leftovers were great the next day with added avocado for lunch. I would add in actual chopped peanuts and have a serving of satay sauce on the side to drizzle over for extra finesse next time. Fresh coriander would also be a winner.

Dietitian UK: Satay chicken stirfry 2

 

Chicken Satay Stir Fry
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
358 calories
15 g
106 g
13 g
45 g
3 g
324 g
443 g
8 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
324g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 358
Calories from Fat 110
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
19%
Saturated Fat 3g
14%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 106mg
35%
Sodium 443mg
18%
Total Carbohydrates 15g
5%
Dietary Fiber 5g
20%
Sugars 8g
Protein 45g
Vitamin A
73%
Vitamin C
250%
Calcium
7%
Iron
19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 500g Chicken Breasts
  2. 3 tbsp peanut butter
  3. 1 tbsp soy sauce
  4. 1 tbsp sweet thai chilli sauce
  5. 1 tsp sesame oil
  6. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  7. 2 tbsp water
  8. 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  9. 1 tbsp water
  10. 3 red peppers thinly sliced
  11. 200g sugar snap peas sliced lengthways
  12. Spring onions (optional I have onion dislikers in my family)
Instructions
  1. Mix the satay sauce, whisking the peanut butter, soy, thai sauce, sesame oil, garlic and water together.
  2. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and coat with the marinade.
  3. Cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
  4. Slice the vegetables and place in a Ziploc bag in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
  5. Heat a wok with the coconut oil or you could use a spray oil.
  6. Add the chicken and cook on a medium heat for five minutes, stirring regularly. Add 1tbsp water to prevent it sticking.
  7. Now add the sliced vegetables. Continue to cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
  8. Serve with rice or noodles and extra satay sauce on the side.
beta
calories
358
fat
13g
protein
45g
carbs
15g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Family Mealtime Mayhem.

Family meal times are in my house a whirlwind. In my mind we are all going to sit down, enjoy a tasty, hot meal, with some lovely conversation and in relative calmness. The reality is very different. At the time of writing this I have a 6 year old girl, a 3 year old boy and an 8 month old baby. You can probably imagine how an average mealtime goes, but I will give you a snapshot in the hope it nomalises the chaos that may also be in your home.

Dietitian UK: Family MealtimeMayhemTop Tips.

Mummy manages to find time to cook up a nutritious dinner, that in itself is no mean feat. Cooking at actual teatime  in our house is like navigating through a very choppy sea, on a pirate ship, with cannon balls being thrown at you. So when possible I try to cook straight after school or at lunchtime. I plan meals at least a day in advance otherwise my stress levels spiral upwards!

Mummy calls for someone to lay the table, usually meaning can my husband please come and do it. The reality is the 3 year old comes, upon prompting the 6 year old may join him. The table is quickly cleared by mummy (by cleared read – swept to one side or everything moved to the nearest worktop) and an assortment of cutlery is laid out. Certain people must have certain cutlery of course. Do not dare to give the 6 year old anything but a fork with a flower design on it!

Finally food gets to the table, some people sit down whilst it is hot, others straggle along later. Now comes the “How many times can we get mummy to get up from her seat” game. 

  1. There are no drinks.
  2. The table was laid with only forks and no knifes.
  3. The boy wants a different coloured plate.
  4. The baby has no bib.
  5. Someone wants pepper.
  6. A spillage needs a cloth.
  7. The cat needs putting out as he is trying to steal the babies meal.

 And so on…

The 6 year old refuses to sit with her legs round the front of her chair and sort of hangs off the side. The 3 year old refuses to eat with cutlery most of the time. Someone starts a song which leads to a both children singing different songs at increasing volumes until mummy shouts “No singing at the table”. The conversation darts all over the place from Daddy trying to pass on some business information, to what happened at school and what the boy’s dinosaur wants to do tomorrow. Throughout it all the baby sits there and cracks on with her meal, watching it all. 

 

Towards the end of his meal, my boy tends to need some encouragement with eating his vegetables, along with some feeding. Then he will find a free adult lap to climb into. The 6 year old takes her time, leaving her favourite bit of dinner until the end. After a while the baby will want a cuddle and feed so mummy can end up feeding whilst eating her dinner. By the end of the meal there are content children, a food covered baby and a lot of clearing up to be done.

So, even if you are a dietitian, mealtimes can be a negotiation process and far from perfect. That is family life. Family mealtimes are such an important time in our house though. A place where the family is all together, a time for sharing news, for role modelling manners, healthy eating, portion sizes, taking it in turns speaking and a time for fun as well. 

Here are my top tips for family mealtimes:

  1. Plan meals ahead of time. I do a rough plan for the week at the weekend but leave it flexible as life happens. My children get a bit of input into this, so I canvas opinions and try to cook things everyone likes.
  2. Set aside some food prep time. Chopping all the veggies in one hit for 3 meals can save you time on other days. I find it easier to chop a pile of carrots, butternut squash, peppers and pop them in a ziplock bag in the fridge to keep fresh.
  3. Getting the kids involved can feel like it takes more time and effort, but see it as a learning time for them. I have a boy who loves to help me cook and my girl is getting quite good at laying the table now. Find the jobs that they enjoy.
  4. Don’t expect perfect table manners. Do have some family rules. One of ours is “No phones at the table” (well you can take a quick instagram shot and that’s it).
  5. Role model healthy eating and portion control to your children, they will thank you for it later in life.
  6. Offer a range of different foods throughout the week. We sometimes talk about the food we are eating, where it came from, what it is made from and what it tastes like.
  7. Don’t force anyone to eat anything they don’t want to eat. 
  8. You may have to eat super early in order to fit with the children but I still think it is important to do this and it leaves you time for fruit and yoghurt later on.
  9. Enjoy the time you have together. It is precious. 
  10. Laugh in the face of chaos 😉

Fragrant Fishy Curry

Being half Sri-Lankan I love curry, it is in my genes to like curry. I’ve made alot of curry over my years of cooking, but never a fish curry. Not because I don’t like fish, it’s just it has always seemed like quite a delicate balance to get the flavours right. For some reason I’m a bit cautious about cooking fish/shellfish as I’ve also never cooked spaghetti mariana, another fav of mine). However I’m now a convert. This is one of my favourite ways to eat fish, added bonus being the kids lapped it up (the boy literally, we must work on table manners!).  I also love that this is SO easy to cook. It is completely not how I would normally cook a curry (curry powder is not my norm) but it made for a quick, midweek meal that was tasty and healthy.

I used salmon as I aim to get 1 portion of oily fish into the family dinners a week, but a white fish would work just as well.

Miss K “Mummy this is the best fish curry ever” 

 (Bless her, it’s the only one she probably remembers eating)

 

Dietitian UK: Fragrant Fish Curry

 

Fragrant Fishy Curry
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
285 calories
11 g
87 g
13 g
29 g
2 g
252 g
88 g
6 g
0 g
10 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
252g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 285
Calories from Fat 120
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
21%
Saturated Fat 2g
12%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 87mg
29%
Sodium 88mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 11g
4%
Dietary Fiber 3g
13%
Sugars 6g
Protein 29g
Vitamin A
47%
Vitamin C
148%
Calcium
7%
Iron
9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  2. 1 onion
  3. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  4. 1/4 inch freshly grated ginger
  5. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  6. 1 tbsp curry powder
  7. 1 x tin chopped tomatoes
  8. 2 tbsp desiccated or grated coconut block
  9. 2 peppers, chopped
  10. 450g fish fillets (I used salmon)
  11. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  12. coriander leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, salute the onions and add the mustard seeds. Cook for a few minutes over a low heat with a lid on. The seeds will pop.
  2. Now add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and cook out for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, grated coconut and some black pepper along with the chopped peppers. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes to get a nice sauce.
  3. Chop the fish into bite sized chunks and add to the pan, simmer for 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon juice, season and serve with rice and a scattering of coriander if you have any.
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calories
285
fat
13g
protein
29g
carbs
11g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/

Lean and Bean Burgers.

So one of the ways I get inspiration for meals and recipes is to go shopping. This week I went to Asda, not our usual supermarket but we went as someone had told me they had skipping ropes and hula hoops reduced right down. Just to interject here, shopping with a 3 month old, almost 3 year old and 5.5 year old on your own is madness. Of course by time I had navigated getting a baby and 2 kids into the car, found the shop, out of the car, across the car park, into and around the trolley and into the shop – there had sold them all.  Never one to like a wasted journey we had a little walk around and stocked up on a few essentials/not-so-much-essentials-but-childrens-requests. Did I mention the madness of shopping with 3 small people?!

I love looking at new food products. They seem to be coming onto the market continually. So when perusing the reduced section (I can’t step away from a bargain) I found “Lean and Bean Mince”. It is 60% beef and 40% beans. I love this. Adding the beans means you use less beef and more plant protein, making it lower in total and saturated fat but still high in protein and it is also saving you pennies. Normal lean beef mince was £7.80/kg for a 500g pack and this was £4.38/kg. It is also exactly the advice I often dish out to people: “bulk out your meat dishes by adding plant protein such as lentils, beans and other pulses”. Potentially a new health food product that is actually good!

NB: If you can’t get this mince then why not add a tin of chopped kidney beans to your mince and make it a 60/4-0 mix yourself?

Getting home I was then left with the dilemma of what to make with the new mince. Too many ideas, too little time. As I was cooking with the help of all the small people, I went for burgers. My thought being I could do it in stages and they may like to get their hands messy and help. Turns out they didn’t want to help, but they did want to help eat them at tea time.

Dietitan UK: Lean and Bean Burgers 2

This mince is definitely tasty, it does taste more like a veggie mince and is dryer than a normal beef version, but that is to be expected. It tasted good and held together well for burgers. We had some left so I used them the next day in a tomato based sauce for a pasta bolognaise that was very nice. I love it when you manage to cook 2 meals in one hit 🙂

Dietitan UK: Lean and Bean Burgers 1

Lean and Bean Burgers
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
179 calories
34 g
0 g
1 g
10 g
0 g
207 g
266 g
4 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
207g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 179
Calories from Fat 8
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 266mg
11%
Total Carbohydrates 34g
11%
Dietary Fiber 11g
44%
Sugars 4g
Protein 10g
Vitamin A
108%
Vitamin C
31%
Calcium
8%
Iron
15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium courgette
  2. 2 medium carrots
  3. 2 cloves of garlic
  4. 1 small onion
  5. large handful of parsley (including stalks)
  6. 400g lean and bean mince
  7. 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
  8. pinch dried rosemary
  9. Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Instructions
  1. Using a grater or food processor grate the courgette, carrots, onion, garlic and parsley.
  2. Mix the veggies in with the mince and all other ingredients.
  3. Shape into patties with your hands and place onto a lined, greased baking tray.
  4. Place in the fridge to firm up for a minimum 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
beta
calories
179
fat
1g
protein
10g
carbs
34g
more
Dietitian UK https://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/