One of the biggest questions I get asked is, what about the kids? Will I be cooking different meals for the family every night? My answer is 'absolutely not' all the recipes that I provide are meals that we eat at home as a family (that includes a very fussy teenager!!)
As a family of 5, it is so important that we all eat the same dinners as I really couldn't cope with cooking 3 different meals every day!
Here are some of my tips to encourage your kids to eat well:
1. Lead by example! If you eat well as a family, your child is much more likely to follow suit!
2. Keep their portions manageable and small, it is much less daunting to them and they can always have more after.
3. Don't let them drink sugar- stick to milk and water (you can even infuse water with fresh fruit if that helps)
4. Make it exciting for them- take them on a food shop with you and let them choose their favourite fruit and veg and then challenge them to find one vegetable that they have never tried and cook that at home (you will always find recipes online if you are stuck)
5. Don't use food as a reward- unfortunately this is where so many of our bad habits have stemmed from so don't repeat the same mistake (stickers, football cards, trips to the park, mini lego figures are all great substitutes)
6. Make it really tasty! Don't be afraid to try new herbs and spices and to season your food- you are much more likely to get a positive result from this!
7. Think about their favourite foods and experiment with ways to make a better option. Even changing fries to sweet potato chips is a big step forward.
8. Smoothies are a great way to get so much goodness into them (I don't mean shop bought ones) You can even hide some dark leafy greens in such as spinach.
9. Encourage your children to eat a rainbow every day- create a chart for each member of the family (including you) with the different colours and they can tick off the colours they have eaten every day.
10. Try to cut down on snacks (if your kids are anything like mine, this mostly boils down to boredom!)
11. Increase activity before meals to build up hunger (even just letting them run around the garden whilst you are prepping dinner)
12. Give them your full attention whilst you are having dinner- sit with them and converse with them. This will keep them engaged and show them that this is time for you and them!
13. MOST importantly- cook from scratch! This doesn't need to be expensive or time consuming- even a simple omelette is a good option!
A favourite family recipe:
C H I C K E N A N D C A S H E W S T I R F R Y
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 Skinless chicken thigh fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Cups broccoli florets
1 Red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 Cup sugar snap peas
½ Cup carrots, thinly sliced
⅓ Cup unsalted cashews
2 Onions, chopped
For the sauce:
4 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
3 Tbsp peanut butter (make sure it’s 100% peanuts)
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 or 3 Tbsp water
To make the sauce, whisk together tamari (or soy sauce), peanut butter, honey, sesame oil, and grated ginger in a small bowl. Whisk in 2 or 3 tablespoons of water, depending on the consistency you prefer, and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle olive oil and add chicken. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, mixing it with the chicken.
Add broccoli, bell pepper, snap peas and carrots to the skillet, incorporating everything together.
Cook an additional 5 minutes, until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through, then add cashews and green onions and drizzle the peanut sauce over top.
Mix everything together with the sauce, coating well, and cook for one more minute. Serve and enjoy!