Here are ten tips for planning and preparing healthy dinners for kids and for the whole family.
“A little planning will help you avoid unintelligible dinners and quickly prepare nutritious and tasty meals for your kids,” says dietitian and Dietician of Canada Dietitian Susan Fyshe. “Lunch is critical in their day because that’s when they’re energized to learn and play after school.”
1. Simplify the preparation of dinners.
Book a place in your fridge for items that are perfect for take-out dinners. Book one of your drawers for accessory menus. Finally, book a period of your day to prepare your dinner. Why not the day before the morning at the race?
2. Fill your pantry with practical items for dinner.
Canned fish (tuna, salmon, other) is perfect for garnishing sandwich. You can increase your daily consumption of fruit by carrying unsweetened canned fruits, dried fruits or a box of 100% pure fruit juice.
3. Fill your fridge with practical items for dinner.
Milk and low-fat cheese are always appreciated. Why not try some hummus in your sandwich? Small yogurt containers are very handy and a hard-boiled egg could help you out when time is of the essence.
4. Go for fruits!
There are fruits of all shapes, sizes, and colors. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. For a quick and delicious snack, opt for fresh fruits easy to carry such as bananas, oranges, apples, pears, grapes, and kiwis. Reusable containers can be used to carry canned fruit such as unsweetened mandarins, fruit salad or applesauce.
5. Add some crunch to your dinners!
For more texture, bring fresh cucumbers, slices of green or red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots, an apple, an orange, a pear, raisins or strawberries.
6. Forget soft drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks.
Rejuvenate with healthier refreshments. Milk, a hit of yogurt and fruit, a 100% pure vegetable or fruit juice, or water are great choices.
7. Use the planned leftovers from the day before.
Planned leftovers are meals prepared at the previous evening’s dinner with the specific purpose of having extra food for a dinner or other supper. Here are some examples of remains that are particularly appealing to children: chili, pasta pan, ham, beef or turkey for a sandwich, and pizza.
8. Opt for bread and whole-grain products.
Whole grains contain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than those that have been processed. Plus, whole grain products have a lot of crunch and flavor!
9. Beware of damage, unwanted mixtures, and odors!
A banana wrapped in a tortilla or a piece of cheese wrapped in ham may look original and creative, but think about its appearance, texture, and smell at dinner time! If you or any of your children open your lunch box to discover a mess, an unwanted mix or a weird smell, your dinner will go straight to the trash!
10. Sweeten your beak with healthy choices!
Sweet tooth tip: Completing a healthy lunch with pudding, fruit, and vegetable yogurt dip, unsweetened canned fruit, dates, rice or wheat popcorn squares, or homemade cookies composed of healthy ingredients such as dried fruits. Make kids happy with healthy choices like fresh or dried fruit, low-fat frozen yogurt, or a handful of muesli.