Easy mid-week dinner ideas your family will love
Posted on September 22 2019
Between homework, packing school lunches and a million different sports, getting a healthy dinner on the table each night can be a tough task – but it doesn’t have to be. To give you a little quick n’ easy healthy eating inspo, here’s my top five recipes the whole family will love.
Gooey egg yolk and delicious, melted cheese – what’s not to love? With a base of veggies and eggs, this meal is rich in fibre and hunger-busting protein to keep your littlies feeling full and satisfied all evening long (read: no late night trips to the pantry). Even better, this dish is a one-pan wonder, so the washing up is a breeze.
To start, sauté a base of onion, canned tomatoes and capsicum, then add whatever herbs and spices you like for a little flavour (my go-to is dried mixed herbs or fresh basil). Simmer the sauce until thickened, then use the back of a spoon to make wells and carefully crack an egg into each, then bake. Once the eggs are cooked to your liking, remove the pan from the oven and scatter over feta or goats cheese. Told you it was easy, didn’t I?
This is a great dish to get your family eating more wholegrains, which provide a raft of health benefits. Long grain brown rice is an excellent source of slow-burning carbs, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals. If your family struggles to make the switch, introduce brown rice slowly by mixing it with your regular white rice (I like to call this ‘zebra rice’).
In a wok, heat a little extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil, then add a finely chopped onion. Next up, it’s whatever veggies you like – pre-chopped frozen veg work a treat, as do peas and corn or whatever veggies you’ve got in your crisper. Once the veg are tender, throw in a packet or two of microwave brown rice, stir through and voila! It’s done. For a well-balanced meal, serve alongside a protein of choice.
Healthy fish n’ chips
Who doesn’t love fish n’ chips?! Luckily, it’s easy to make a healthy version sans the deep fryer. My top tip with a meal like this is to replace some of the potato with non-starchy veg to round out the meal (and avoid a carb coma...).
Get the chips started by cutting potatoes into wedges, then drizzle a little olive oil over the top and bake (FYI my rule is one teaspoon of oil per person). To prepare the fish, a simple crumb made of wholemeal breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and dried mixed herbs will do the trick. When the potatoes are almost cooked, add the fish to the oven and bake till crispy. Last but not least, whip up a big green salad with a bag of pre-washed mixed leaves and a yummy dressing like honey mustard to pique your little one’s interest.
Another one with wholegrains in mind, most people are surprised to hear me recommend pasta as a healthy meal. But I’m not talking about the mountains you’re probably used to seeing at Italian restaurants – instead, I’d suggest capping your pasta portions at just one cup of cooked pasta per person.
Again, opt for a brown variety of pasta to get the wholegrain benefit. To help balance and bulk out the meal, it’s important to add veggies, so I like to throw sturdy veg like broccoli, carrot and peas into the water with the pasta as it boils, and also add a heap of veggies to the sauce itself. I’d recommend a tomato-based sauce over a creamy one to keep the saturated fat content low, and be cautious of store-bought sauces that send your sodium intake skyrocketing (FYI, your goal is less than 400 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams).
Five minutes of prep is all you need to pull off a delicious tray bake. As always, a base of veggies is a good idea for a boost of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Mix it up with the seasons to ensure you get a variety of different colours and disease-fighting antioxidants throughout the year to keep you and your family in tip top shape.
To start off your tray bake, chop your chosen veg into small, bite-sized pieces and scatter them over a lined baking tray. Next, place your protein portions on top of your veg – chicken thighs and salmon work particularly well with this kind of meal. Last but not least, pour a delicious sauce over the top to tie it all together (think: healthy homemade satay or lemon and garlic). Then, let the oven do the hard work for you and before you know it, dinner is served.
By Melissa Meier