Cooking healthy meals for your family is the key to living a healthy and nutritious life. Starting your children on a wholesome diet at a young age means that they’ll learn and appreciate the art of eating healthy as they grow and develop. They’ll enjoy the healthy meals you make (especially if they can help with the preparation!), and start to dislike the unhealthy options that many of their peers may eat while at school. Ensuring your family eats clean and healthy will give them the energy they need throughout the day, help them concentrate better at school, and give them the nutrients they need so that they will not be reaching for the snack bowl at any break they have. Cooking nutritious options is also important for health now and in the years to come. Healthy food choices have been proven to help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, many cancers, and diabetes. In addition, healthy eating promotes a fit physique while helping to keep skin clear and under control (a struggle that many teens face).
With these easy and healthy recipes, you’ll spend minimal time in the kitchen, use ingredients that you already have in your pantry, and cook meals that are delicious, filling, and easy to whip together! We’ve scoured the web for the best recipes out there and taste-tested them ourselves to ensure that they’re good enough to share. Remember, these are main dishes, so for a full meal, add an easy salad or simply sauté some veggies on the side to make it complete. Score some extra points when you let your kids in the kitchen so they understand which ingredients go in each recipe. Cooking as a family is fun, educational, and a great bonding activity!
Here are the recipes I know you’ll love:
Broiled Balsamic Salmon
- 2 half pound fillets of salmon
- ¼ cup soy sauce of tamari
- ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
- ½ lime
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons light olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
What to do:
In a large bowl, add the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and a few cracks of black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil and mix.
Next, place salmon filets in a bag and pour the marinade over the fish. Seal the bag, cover, and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.
After the salmon has been marinated, remove it and place on a baking sheet. Set the broiler to medium high and place fish on the rack second closest to the heat. Cook skin side up for 2-3 minutes and turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove and serve!
Whole Wheat Spaghetti With Caper Pesto Sauce
- 4 tbsp. salted capers, drained.
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 6 anchovy filets
- 2 cups packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
- Freshly ground pepper
What to do:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring until paste is al dente. While pasta is cooking, take ¼ cup pasta water and set aside in a small bowl.
While you’re waiting, make the pesto. Combine everything except the oil in a processor and add the oil in a fine stream, blending until creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cheese.
Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Stir reserved pasta water into the pesto and pour sauce over pasta and mix. Top with pepper and cheese if desired.
BONUS: Make extra sauce and save it for later! Plastic bottles at www.ebottles.com make a great storage option. The lids are extra-tight so you’re able to store your sauce for longer!
Coconut-Curry Chicken Fingers with Cashews
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground pepper
- 1 ¼ cups light coconut milk
- 1 cup skim milk
- 3 ½ tablespoons red curry paste
- ¾ cup roasted, salted cashews
- ¾ cup sweetened coconut flakes
- ¾ cup cornflakes
- 1 10-ounce bag baby spinach
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a large baking sheet.
Cut the chicken into 3-by1/2-inch strips and season with salt and pepper.
Whisk together one cup of the coconut milk, skim milk, and 1 ½ tablespoons curry paste.
In a processor, pulse together the cashews and coconut until fine. Add cornflakes and pulse until coarse. Transfer into bowl.
One by one, dip the chicken strips into the milk mixture; then roll into the cashew mixture to coat evenly. Transfer each chicken finger to the baking sheet.
Bake in the oven turning once, halfway through, for about 10 minutes.
While it’s cooking, whisk the remaining ¼ cup coconut milk and 2 tablespoons curry paste. Divide the spinach on plates and top with the chicken fingers. Drizzle with the sauce and serve!
In the end, this is not some sort of fad diet. You don’t want to deprive your children of everything. A healthy lifestyle does not mean a slice of cake here and there is a no-go. Treats should always be okay in moderation. When children are deprived from “not-so-healthy” snacks, they’ll tend to lash out and eat unhealthy when you’re not around. This is often called “Binge Eating,” which is the most common eating disorder in the United States and is the act of eating an unusually large amount of food at one time. As adults, we should also eat snacks every once in awhile to prevent us from compulsive overeating. Moral of the Story: Let your child indulge from time to time- you should too!