Cooking healthy meals for all the family – is this possible?

Gesund kochen für die ganze Familie Gesund kochen für die ganze Familie

When a parent decides it's time to adopt a healthier diet, convincing the rest of the family to join in is not always so easy. But your efforts are likely to be doubly rewarded: not only are you doing something that will benefit the whole family's health, you are also laying the foundation for your children to lead a healthy lifestyle when they eventually leave home as young adults.

Smart kids eat better

There is evidence that a poor diet can have a negative effect on children, no matter how young: in addition to obesity, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which have a negative impact on their immune system, energy levels and ability to concentrate. This, in turn, can affect their performance at school. So it's time to make "smart kids eat better" your new mantra.

How to get your kids used to healthy eating

But how do you cook healthy meals that children will still want to eat? And how do you do that without spending twice as much time in the kitchen? Ana Pereira, a nutrition specialist at mycoach, reveals a few tricks.

1) Add a new twist to familiar dishes: make a gentle transition from white to wholewheat pasta

Wholewheat and spelt products may initially take some getting used to. Start by replacing white pasta with white spelt pasta. Once everyone has got used to the taste and look, try a darker wholewheat kind. After all, who can actually say no to a plate of buckwheat fusilli when dressed up as black "pirate pasta"?

2) Serve each ingredient separately

Try serving the individual components of the meal, like vegetables, meat and sauce, separately. That way, everyone can help themselves and try out as many new things as they want. This tactic works especially well with the Mexican Taco Party kids' recipe, for example.

3) Go shopping together and discover healthy foods

Eating starts with what you buy. Make a fixed date to go to the market together once a week, for example. Markets are a great place to make new discoveries and try out new flavours. Children can satisfy their curiosity by uncovering seasonal vegetables.

4) It will taste better if you cook together

Make cooking a shared experience. Sort the shopping together. Talk about the groceries and what they mean for the body while washing, peeling, chopping, seasoning and stirring. You'll see that carrots taste twice as good to children if they've peeled them themselves.

5) The one-forkful rule

Insist that your children try at least one forkful of each new dish. After that, the kids can still decide whether or not they like it. Children slowly grow accustomed to new flavours by repeatedly trying them.

Mexican Taco Party

Delicious dishes are the best way to convince even the most sceptical. Grab your chopping boards, get set, go! Surprise the kids with a Mexican taco party that can be enjoyed by all the family at the dinner table.

Kids' recipe

Serves 4

  • 8 taco shells (hard, from corn)
  • 1 jar tomato sauce without additives
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • 4 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 tin sweetcorn
  • ½ cucumber, diced
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 pack feta
  • Herbs like coriander or parsley, chopped
  • 500g chicken breast, diced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • 400g skimmed quark
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ground paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Soy sauce

Method

  • Heat the tomato sauce then season with salt, pepper and herbs.
  • Dice the chicken, brown in olive oil and season with paprika, soy sauce and pepper.
  • For the quark dip: mix the skimmed quark with ½ mashed avocado, 100g feta, 2tbsp lemon juice and season with paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Wash and dice the remaining avocado and the feta, red peppers, cucumber and herbs.
  • Fill the tacos as you please. Serve them with the quark dip and lime, and savour the flavour!
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