One concern I hear from many as they begin their clean eating journey is that they don’t want to make a healthy dinner for themselves and a separate dinner for their family.
This can be tough because your spouse may not have joined the clean eating bandwagon with you and your children are probably perfectly content with their macaroni and cheese/chicken nugget dinner. However, healthy eating is really an investment in your body, mind, and future. Of course our family will benefit from these things too (whether they want to or not). Here are a few tips to make healthy dinners a family affair.
1. Cook one meal for everyone
a. You may choose to add supplemental veggies for yourself, but everyone should eat generally the same food on the table
b. Select one food that everyone will like (such as grilled meat or burgers) and then add in a variety of healthy options
2. Have your kids (or your spouse) help select the veggie(s) for dinner
a. Choosing makes everyone more interested
b. Better yet, have them help you cook if you are not in a hurry...they may want to try their concoction
3. Go naked!!!
a. Cooking burgers or sausage…skip the bun and go for a different starch like sweet potatoes
b. Plus it’s fun to proclaim you are going naked for dinner!
4. Cook a supplemental veggie for yourself that others may eat if they choose
a. I am a big fan of the 2 veggie dinner. I usually serve something green like a salad or broccoli, but then I throw in a filling veggie that feels like a starch such as mashed cauliflower, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, or zoodles. Typically, I cook the squash in the microwave while I’m making the rest of dinner. It takes about 12 minutes to cook with no mess. You can season it with a little smoked salt and toasted sesame seeds. For a sweet flavor, top with a little cinnamon and honey (or stevia) and a few pecans. One cup of veggie mash is VERY filling so it keeps me from snacking after dinner. You can also purchase pre-packaged, riced cauliflower in the prepared veggie section of your grocery for a quick steam in the bag option
b. My husband and kids aren’t usually interested in my veggie mash at dinner, so I typically I get at least two meals out of my supplemental veggies
5. If your family must have carbs, pick something that is easy to make (and that doesn’t interest you)
a. My kids love pasta, so I often serve it as a side dish. I usually dress it up with some butter and parmesan cheese, etc. I can usually pass on that side dish because it’s not my favorite (different story when it comes to boxed macaroni and cheese). I make the entire box of pasta once and it goes for several meals so that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every night.
b. Pouches of rice/pasta that you can microwave in 90 seconds (like Seeds of Change) are also a good option so that you don’t fuss too much over something you may not eat
6. Serve dinner from the stove top rather than family style at the table
a. This will make it easier for you to measure out your portions more accurately
b. It prevents mindless grazing
c. You can even prepackage tomorrow’s lunch before you even sit down to dinner…BOOM!
7. What they don’t know won’t hurt them
a. Whole wheat pasta is an easy switch for everyone…they may not even be able to tell
b. The other night I made cauliflower crust pizza for the first time. I did NOT to tell my kids about the crust and guess what…they gobbled it up without noticing
c. Another favorite Houdini recipe of mine is Butternut Squash Brownies. Totally clean and nobody can tell!
Do you have a tip for clean family style eating??? Comment below with your tricks.