Believe it or not, loading your family’s plates with veggies and lean protein every night isn’t the only way to feel good about what you’re feeding them. It’s surprisingly easy to create tasty, nutritious, guilt-free meals for everyone in your home—and we’ve got the tips to help.
1. Don’t be afraid to try new recipes, and think about how meals are served.
A child may not be into a specific ingredient as a rule, but they may change their tune if you land on a new preparation they like. If your son doesn’t like spinach fried in a pan, maybe he’ll like it scattered on his pizza. If your daughter doesn’t like raw cauliflower, maybe she’ll like it in cauliflower garlic bread bites. Kids are also more likely to partake in meals that look fun, so be purposeful about how you arrange veggie plates, fruit platters or even just bowls of pasta. Try using cookie cutters to shape fruits, veggies, cheese and bread, or try combining traditionally separate foods (think eggs and bacon combined into breakfast hash) for variety.
2. Use family favourites to your advantage.
While it’s great to introduce a new meal to your dinner repertoire, making nutritional tweaks to kid-approved faves is an easy way to feel good about what you’re serving—and to avoid a dinnertime showdown. For example, blending and adding veggies to your next batch of spaghetti sauce increases the meal’s nutritional content, as does choosing chicken over beef for your next family burger night. (Poultry consistently comes out as the healthier option in many studies, as it’s lower in saturated fat and doesn’t raise blood cholesterol levels like red meat can). Including a side plate of chopped veggies (with dip!) is another great way to up the health ante on kid-approved meals.
3. Whenever possible, embrace meal prepping.
Let’s face it: The school-work-extracurricular-family responsibility juggle is a slog, and planning nightly dinners may not rank high on your list of priorities. Here’s where making and freezing meals for in-a-pinch use can help. Things like shepherd’s pie, lasagna, chicken pot pie, beef enchiladas and chili that can be made in advance and tossed into the freezer for quick supper solutions. And by incorporating real food options from Maple Leaf that use only natural ingredients (like their Natural Top Dogs!)—the brand is committed to providing foods that are free of all artificial preservatives, flavours, colours, sweeteners and animal by-products—you can feel good about the meals you’re cooking for your family.
4. Make a point of keeping kid-pleasing protein on hand.
Exposing your family to a variety of protein options is important (and may even help boost their willingness to seek out different foods as they grow up), but having kid-favourite options like hot dogs, deli meats and chicken burgers on hand means you’ll always have an easily incorporated protein when you need it. What’s more, you’ll have solutions you know your kids will love, and with Maple Leaf meat varieties, you can rest easy knowing the brand uses only natural ingredients.
Check out this list of delicious, nutritious and easily-made recipes that will help you give your family what they want—without the guilt!
Learn more about Maple Leaf Natural Top Dogs. Check out www.Topdogsfacts.ca