How to eat clean with the family

It can be a real challenge ‘eating clean’ as a family when your life is busy and budget limited. Here are some top tips on how to rustle up some quick healthy meals so that your family stay fighting fit:

Every weekend I batch cook a load of veggies, whatever I have in, but generally peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, courgettes and garlic. I try and get as many different coloured vegetables as I can in there, so as to pack in various vitamins. I then freeze them in 5 batches to be used during the week.

So on Monday you could use it with mince for a bolognese sauce with pasta, Tuesday as a ratatouille with fish and rice, Wednesday in an omelette, Thursday with home made turkey burgers and Friday with sweet potato chips and fish. ‘

There are two things I find especially difficult: one is getting my 7 year old son Joe to eat enough veg, and the other is to stop myself grazing on cheese and bread at the end of the day when I am tired, hungry and making the dinner. One thing which helps is cutting up a load of raw carrots and cucumber in the morning: some will be used in my son’s snack box, and the rest I put in the fridge ready for me to snack on when I am cooking.

Another habit we’ve got into is eating berries before breakfast. We have this as ‘treat’ time together in bed before we go downstairs – it might not work for everyone but it works for us (and also keeps the kids regular on the loo!). It’s also become tradition to have fruit before any ‘cheeky’ pud like jelly.

One thing we can’t resist as a family is crisps, so I simply don’t have them in the house. If they’re not in the cupboard, I won’t be tempted, plus it’s much easier to say ‘no’ to whiny requests if they’re just not available. Instead we have them as treats when we’re on a day out.

As much as possible I try to get the my son involved in cooking so he understands where food comes from, what we need to eat to stay fit and healthy, and how enjoyable food can be. I wait until I have a bit of time, say the weekend, and then we’ll cook up a storm together, maybe home-made pizza with lots of veggie toppings, passata and cheese, or even something simple like egg sandwiches. One of my son’s favourites is ‘kebab and chips’, which is cooked chicken and peppers on skewers with sweet potato chips: yum!’

And what about fussy eaters? Joe really dislikes sauces of any kind, so he has the raw veg on his plate whilst the rest of us have the sauce made from them.

Eating at the table also really helps to keep us eating well: studies have shown that eating in front of the TV leads to unhealthy habits. Eating at the table aids digestion, conversation and health, as well as getting everyone ‘off screen’ and relaxing together. Making food sociable and enjoyable is the real key to eating well.

For more ideas on how eat clean with your family check out my pinterest recipes page.

Do you have any top tips on eating healthily with your family? I’d love to hear them!

2 Responses to How to eat clean with the family

  1. Chris Thompson September 16, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    Buy 5% fat beef mince, Quorn, turkey mince etc and add as many brightly coloured chopped vegetables – red, yellow, green peppers, aubergine, dried and fresh mushrooms plus onions and garlic – fry together on a high heat (no extra fat or small amount of rapeseed oil) turning all the time until softened. Add herbs, stock cube and a tin of chopped tomatoes. Cook until veg are cooked. Season well.
    This then is a basis for a bolognaise sauce.

    Just use with pasta for spaghetti bolagnaise

    Pasta twirls or penne added to basic sauce for pasta bake. Pour into dish, add grated cheese plus breadcrumbs and bake until crispy. Serve with dark green salad

    Use as basis for lasagne, with simple layered sauce – again serve with huge fresh salad

    Add tin of red beans and add some lazy red chopped chilliest (from a jar) for chilli con carne served with brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and home made coleslaw

    Add lazy chilli slow cook to reduce liquid and serve in tacos with chopped lettuce, guacamole, low fat sour cream and masses of finely chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, Spring onions, grated carrots etc.

    The sauce can be frozen until needed or make the dishes and freeze those.

    • Julia Willmott December 23, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

      A rainbow of vegetables is a great way to increase nutrients Chris, you’re absolutely right! Thanks for your great comment x