It's become increasingly hard over the years to strike the balance between allowing your children to enjoy the mass of unhealthy foods splayed across the shop shelves, with the want to shower them in healthy goodness. Who doesn't love sausages and mash or creamy sauces? It's hard, no getting away from it, but fortunately, supermarkets have been catching on with this health balance conundrum and have come up with some helpful solutions.
So supermarkets... they offer low-fat meals to pop in the microwave and the TV adverts are crying out for people to try substitutions in the form of meat-free options instead of mince and so on. But what if you don't want to eat 'fake' or processed food? Surely there's a way to combine fresh produce and high-quality meats with healthy meals? There is! There is a range of recipes for some really popular meals, with ingredients substituted for healthier options - a prime example is this twist on the classic shepherds pie recipe from Kraft.
It's pretty clever when you think about it - you still get to eat all your favourite meals without having to sacrifice any flavour. Reckon it’s too good to be true? Let’s look at some examples that will prove otherwise:
1. Lose the jars. When you're making spaghetti bolognese, you really don't need to buy a sauce in a jar. Come on, you can do better than that! It's as simple as a tin of chopped tomatoes, a stock cube, and some herbs (yep that's honestly it), and you'll be producing a meal of entirely fresh and healthy goodness in no time. This is just one example of a home-made pasta sauce.
2. Whole-wheat is wholesome. This is one instance where you should believe what it says on the tin. Whether you're cooking pasta and sauce or lasagne, get on the whole-wheat bandwagon. Easier to digest, this is a great swap for your kids.
3. Fish, fish, fish. Brains, skin, and all that jazz. We want our kids to be the best they can be and with this in mind, fish is a very important element to include in their diets. The problem is, children don't always take to fish particularly well so you might want to try making homemade fish fingers and getting them involved to make it more fun – kids love the bread-crumbing of the fish slices! Another tried and tested method is to make a fish pie, with a low calorie cream sauce, like this recipe.
4. Dippy eggs. Eggs are the quickest and most simple way to get some tasty yet healthy food into your children. You're right, dippy eggs aren't the only way to include eggs into their diet, but they are the fun way! Buy some shaped cutters and let your kids cut out their soldiers… or stars... or whatever they like and even let them choose their own egg cup.
Have them involved in the timing of the eggs and then sit back and watch as they enjoy their playful, hand-on breakfast. Simple, quick and cheap as chips, this is an all-time crowd pleaser.
Hopefully this has sparked some imagination for meal times. Happy munching!