Every mom I know is always on the hunt for simple meal ideas for their family. Feeding a big family doesn’t have to mean huge portions of processed foods at the dinner table. Healthy cooking can be fast, simple and cost effective. It will also meet the nutritional needs of the growing bodies in your family.
Meeting the emotional needs of children is also accomplished by big family meals together. What better setting for the life-long fond memories than the the lively dinner table where everyone spills their juicy stories of the day amid laughing? With a little organization and proper planning, meals can support sharp minds and agile bodies, as well as lead to time-efficient preparation with a tasty outcome.
Here are a few good options to include in your meal planning:
Nutrients, fiber and vitamins are the essentials met with high-quality whole grain bread. Butter and bread on the table fill tummies and stretch the main course effectively. Fiber takes longer to digest than most other foods, and so supports that full feeling for longer.
Thick, creamy soups with whole grain breads are easy to make, contain vegetables and other necessary nutrients. Potato soup, cream of vegetable soups or a nice, thick chicken soup can be a great meal for lunch or dinner and can be adjusted for the taste-buds of the family-majority with ease.
Try using three egg whites to every one egg yolk. Save the other yolk for other cooking needs. When making a large pot of scrambled eggs, this can allow you to feed a larger number of people with lower cholesterol and fat.
Since scrambled eggs tend to be a family favorite, it can entice the consumption of whole grain breads, while also meeting needs for the finicky eater. Incorporation of vegetables and cheese can turn leftovers into lunch without hampering the tight budget.
Meeting Necessary Calorie Standards for Growing Bodies
Teenage boys need around 2,800 calories each day. Girls need about 2,200. The challenge is to be certain those calories are made of mostly healthy foods that have been balanced in a way that provides all the required nutrients. The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to ask them to participate in coming up with ideas, and for their help in preparing some meals and snacks. This way they have some ownership in the plan, and can become prepared for cooking and planning themselves.
Teenagers need the right kind of protein. Both boys and girls require around two servings daily. A lean hamburger or a hard boiled egg counts as one serving, as does a handful of peanuts or other dry, roasted nuts. Half of teenage food portions should ideally come from whole grains. Boys need 10 or 11 servings while girls need about nine. A slice of bread or cup of cereal equals one serving. Cooking whole grain pastas and providing crackers, nuts and cereals as snacks will get you halfway there.
Bowls of fruit on the kitchen counter at all times is another easy way to encourage a healthy diet. When educated on nutritional needs, teens will come to understand that a can of fizzy drink and a packet of large fries account for around 700 calories with absolutely no nutritional value, and fat and sugar can add to acne issues too! You’ll be sure to see a change in eating patterns after they learn that.
What other family friendly meals do you make on a budget?? Please share you ideas in the comment section below…
Images: Kathryn Rossiter