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Healthy Eating For The Whole Family
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Healthy Eating For The Whole Family

We’re delighted to be working with a panel of experts in the UK health, fitness, and wellness sector as part of our exclusive #24KME programme. Here, certified nutritionist Kate Withington shares her insights on how you ensure the whole family eats a nutritious and delicious meal.

The meals we provide for our families play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of every family member but it’s not always easy. Busy lives mean meals need to not only be nutritious but also easy and quick to prepare. Plus, on top of being pushed for time, many of us also have the challenge of fussy eaters to deal with. If you’re anything like me, you probably also hate food waste and spending a fortune on ingredients.

So how do we deal with this and come up with meals that suit the whole family and our budget?

Plan Meals In Advance

My biggest piece of advice for anyone wanting to keep on track with a healthy and nutritious diet is to meal plan. I tend to create a weekly meal plan on a Friday for the following week, this helps to prevent food waste, save money and ensure we have lots of variety.

There will be meals I repeat and recipes which create enough portions that mean we have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some weeks where life gets in the way and there simply isn’t time to create some of the meals in the plan, but having a plan is a great starting point! Plus, it avoids over-spending in the supermarket as I’ll have my shopping list ready to go!

In addition to planning my meals I will also do some meal prep on the weekend. I love to include meals that can be made in advance and frozen, such as chillies, pasta sauces, soups etc.

Make One Meal For Everyone

Wherever possible I plan the dinner meals based on one meal we can all eat. It can be exhausting making separate adult and children’s meals every night. I will sometimes adjust, or add a few more components, to make dinners more ‘adult friendly’ so maybe adding extra spiciness or I might add an additional protein source, side or topping but I try and keep things as simple as possible.

Fuel For The Day Ahead

Mornings are always such a rush to get out of the door for school, but I try and always ensure we have a balanced breakfast to fuel our day. Many healthy breakfasts take less than 10 minutes to prepare and could be things like:

  • Porridge with various toppings
  • Weetabix with fruit
  • Scrambled eggs on toast with some fruit
  • Protein packed smoothie
  • Greek yoghurt bowl with fruit
  • Wholemeal toast with nut butter and fruit

If you really struggle with time in the morning, you can freeze fruit in individual portions for smoothies, so all you have to do is throw in the blender with some milk. There are also lots of healthy breakfasts that can prepped in advance such as:

  • Overnight oats
  • Breakfast bars – serve with some Greek yoghurt.
  • Pancakes can be prepped in advance and frozen.
  • Egg frittata muffins.

One of my go-to weekend breakfasts is a protein crumble. I’ve always had a soft spot for an apple crumble, so this high-protein version really hits the spot for me. Perfect for breakfast (or even a dessert) it’s versatile and you can add extra fruit for more flavour! I love using plums and different berries.

INGREDIENTS:

Filling

  • 1 apple
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Crumble Topping

  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 30g vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1½ tbsp plain flour
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 tbsp water

METHOD:

  • Slice your apples thinly then pan fry with the rest of the filling ingredients until the apples have softened. Add water as needed if it sticks to the pan.
  • While the filling is cooking, prepare the crumble by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl. Add water in small amounts until the crumble starts to stick together.
  • Add the apples to an oven-proof ramekin and top with your protein crumble.
  • Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes until the top has become golden.

Another breakfast which is a go-to over the weekend, as it’s not only quick and easy to make, but it’s also a tasty treat for the whole family, is my French toast bites.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 slice brioche
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

METHOD:

  • Heat some coconut oil or butter in a frying pan over medium / high heat.
  • In a blender whizz up the egg, egg white, vanilla whey and cinnamon and pour into a bowl (or whisk by hand)
  • Cut the brioche into little squares and dip in the egg mixture.
  • Fry on both sides until lightly browned - be careful not to burn them.
  • Serve with chosen toppings. I love these with Nutella and blueberries.

Tips for fussy eating that have worked for me.

I often get asked how I handle having fussy eaters in the house, but honestly? It can be quite tricky! Over the years, I’ve found a couple of tricks which help me encourage them to eat healthier foods throughout the day and I’ve included them to below to hopefully help families nationwide find ways to combat fussiness at mealtimes:

  • Get the children involved with cooking – I find if they have contributed to the preparation even in a small way, they are more likely to try a new dish.
  • Consider hidden veggie meals - I never recommend constantly hiding veg as this won’t help in the long run with fussiness, but hidden veggie meals can allow you to get extra nutrients in while avoiding a tantrum.
  • Use condiments and dips to entice them to try new fruits / veggies. The benefits of trying and accepting new foods almost always outweighs any negative impact of a bit of extra sugar or fat. In the past I have used butter, honey, teriyaki sauce even a bit of Nutella to encourage them to try different fruits and veggies, you can reduce the amount each time until they eventually eat them without condiments.
  • Serve family style meals – I especially love to do this on a weekend, this allows them to take as much or as little as they like, and they have the opportunity to select other toppings or sides for themselves.
  • Teach your children about nutrition – I tell my children about the benefits of different foods, everything from fish and blueberries being good for their brain to how fruits and vegetables can stop them getting colds.
  • Last but not least, lead by example – children learn from observing. So, it’s important to be a good role model by eating nutritious foods and eating a wide variety of foods.

By following these tips and creating a supportive, calm environment for healthy eating, you can help we can help our families develop lifelong habits that promote health and wellbeing.

 

 

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