With the cost of living rising, we are working longer hours and this can cause us to become tired, irritable and fatigued. When it comes to cooking when we are tired, it’s quite easy to buy some pre-packaged or takeaway food to satisfy the family at the end of a long day.
Rather than going for the quick food fix, take some time out and use a few of these ideas each week. Healthier meals protect your family’s immune system, keep their weight in check and minimise the likelihood of developing health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Top 10 Healthier Ways To Prepare Family Favourite Meals
1. Pancakes – make them healthier by removing the flour. All you need is 3 ingredients: peanut butter, banana and eggs! Process together and cook as you would a conventional pancake. This is a high protein breakfast and will keep you full until lunch.
2. Add dates to milkshakes and smoothies instead of honey. They are high in fibre and nutrients such as B vitamins, which provide energy, and magnesium, a key mineral in bone development.
3. Make your own fish fingers. Chop some firm white fish into pieces, dip into some egg wash and crumb. These can also be baked so there’s no frying, no additives and less sodium than store-bought ones. You can use almond meal instead of breadcrumbs for a higher protein/lower carb alternative too.
4. Make your own low-carb pizza crust. This can be done using grated cauliflower and processed in a food processor with egg and parmesan cheese.
5. Use homemade almond butter instead of pre-made peanut butter than can often be high in sodium and sugar. Almond butter is very easy to make and you know exactly what’s in it. Just roast the almonds in your oven for 15 minutes and add to a food processor whilst still warm for about 5 minutes – or longer for a smoother consistency.
6. Homemade ice smoothies are a great option instead of pre-purchased ice block or ice creams. If your family is dairy-free or if you would like an alternative to dairy, an easy way to still enjoy ice cream is to make it from the fruit of your choice blitzed with coconut milk, and then freeze in ice block moulds overnight. Try these super yum green icy poles.
7. Make sweet potato french fries instead of starchy potato fries. This lowers your overall carbohydrate content for the day and may help with weight loss. Just slice the sweet potato into batons and toss with some extra virgin oil, season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven.
8. Make homemade bread using almond meal instead of wheat flour. It will be higher in protein and good fats and tastes amazing with a little smear of coconut oil.
9. Swap white rice for cauliflower rice – all you need to do is chop a head of cauliflower into small pieces, toss into the food processor, then pulse until the size of rice grains. Try this yummy cauliflower pizza base recipe.
10. Make your own muesli with oats, maple syrup and nuts, and have this low GI meal for breakfast instead of other less nutritious cereals or white toast. Eating low GI foods keeps your blood sugar levels stable and you will be less likely to snack on junk food mid-morning. Try this delicious healthy muesli and smoothie bowl.
There are many more food ingredients you can swap – just think outside the square a little and you will find your family’s health will improve in no time!
Written by Elisha Danine (BHSc Compl. Med, Adv. Dip. Nut. Med.)