Meal inspiration for healthy mum, foodie dad, and fussy 3yr old?!

As title suggests I need some recipes and healthy meal ideas for our family. I want to eat healthy, lower fat, low sugar and low carb. My husband likes lots of the things I'm reducing (!) and will comment if a small/boring meal. My daughter needs a lot of encouragement to eat. She'll eat fish, mince, chicken (without any sauce, coating etc, sausages, mash, pasta, peas, cucumber, raw veg, bread, wraps, most fruit, yogurt, and any junk like chips, crisps, chocolate (of course!) I put something new on her plate most meals but she would rather go without any treats/desert than try new things (so frustrating when we eat anything and everything!!)

Anyway this is quite a challenge to make new exciting healthy meals to suit everyone. I cook once with only slight/easy variations and if they don't like it they go hungry, but that's not always great.

I spiralise/rice veg instead of pasta/rice for me, or go without the bread/pasta/potato etc. But again need some more ideas.

Also there's usually 30-60mins between picking daughter up after work and needing a meal ready. I don't have much time before work either to pre-prepare meals for slow cooker. But I have been considering slow-cooker bulk freezing for a week. I'm not keen on stews/casseroles (actually none of us).

I also make my own soup, smoothies or salads for lunches. And try to have a good low fat protein breakfast but ideas for these meals welcome!

Thanks in advance!!

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16 Replies

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  • You must be exhausted! Does husband ever make the meal?

  • Yes he's a great cook, but most days he's in just in time for when my daughter needs to eat (5.30-6pm) which is better than most dads manage, and than he use to manage as he changed his work to be home to see more of us. We have been married 10yrs and have got into bad eating habits. We are use to larger than needed portions, using healthy oils for shallow frying veg/chicken etc and lots of extras i.e. Garlic bread with pasta, lots of sauces/dips with fajitas etc. So I've piled on 4stone over these 10yrs that I now want to loose 3 stone of. My husband has great metabolism and can eat most things, including sweet treats and cakes throughout the day and evening (I'm just reassuring myself that I'm doing something about the visceral fat as well as the visible fat!) ;-)

  • I'm with you

    I'm just reassuring myself that I'm doing something about the visceral fat as well as the visible fat!

    it's about being healthy, feel lighter and happier, not just the numbers on scale

  • Glad that your husband is a great cook. He's the person to get on side with the weight loss. He can see what's happening and step in to help you. Ask for his help. Time also for a talk with your daughter about how you need to eat fewer carbs and more leafy veg and fruit. She can be on your side too.

  • Hi Loosingit,

    First of all, have a look in the Recipes/Meals/Snacks Topic, because there are heaps of great ideas.

    I am a great believer in freezing meals, there's very little that doesn't find it's way into the freezer. I bulk cook, but I also cook more than is required per meal, so that there's at least one other meal, for hubby and me, for the freezer. I even freeze individual portions of pasta, rice, mash, roasted veg and other cooked veg. If there are any differences in content and size of a particular meal, then I label with names. Calorie content can also be included in the labelling.

    All meals can be frozen, it doesn't have to be just stews and casseroles and it makes life so much easier when time, energy and inclination are in short supply :)

    Hope this helps :)

  • I've looked on there but not found it too clear or easy as the threads are quite long with lots of comments and recipes not always there. Just hoping someone else might be in similar boat who can suggest a website for recipes, or some firm family favourite or any tricks of the trade for catering for 3 different needs. It's this issue that often becomes my stumbling block to keeping on at it.

  • Thanks for your suggestions too!

  • Hi. Have you tried the Faye Ripley Family Food cookbook? The premise is one meal for the whole family. I love it and my children (7 and 8) have tried (and eaten!) Lots of the recipes. It has lots of 'proper' meals but really nice variations. You could always swap lower carbs for yours. Nothing complicated or that takes ages to prepare. I go back to it again and again. The other one is Bill Grainger Every Day. Again, very well used in our house. When mine were little I did lots of batch cooking for the freezer so that we could have a grown up meal sometimes or eat later, favourites were spaghetti bol, anything covered in pesto! Casserole, and lots from Annabel Carmel. Honestly this post isn't sponsored! Good luck.

  • Thanks for the ideas. Never heard of those, except AC which I associate more with weaning/baby stages, but I know I do have family cookbook of hers. I'm so tired after work and looking after my little one I struggle to get my head around new ideas. I'm better with a meal plan done each weekend/Mon. That's my goal! Just got to get through rest of this week. Tonight husband wasn't in to eat as back to back meetings into the evening, and I couldn't find any inspiration to match my ingredients / energy! So I did her egg and soldiers for tea, with veg, and made myself a massive quorn ceasar salad with 1 slice co-op healthy eating garlic bread.

  • I know what you mean - I swear by a weekly plan too. To give some ideas - Monday red meat - spag, meatballs, Tuesday- egg night, omlette, dippy,scrambled, poached (ours with avocado, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc) Wednesday- jackets - cheese and beans, tuna and salad, quiche, Thursday - pasta with tuna/sausages/veg, Friday - fish, trout, salmon, Fish cakes. Another quick one is soup and a sandwich or toasties and salad, stuffed pittas. Sorry - just making myself hungry now! Also have a look at the nhs meal planner app as that has some good recipes. Maybe cook a vat of something at the weekend so you can freeze portions for the week.

  • I still use Annabel C for my 5 year old! She has a lot of good "toddler" recipes that go up to any age. I love her cornflake chicken (having some tonight!) and there is a great noodle recipe. I used to do my son's on the weekend and freeze in pots when he was little and we were weaning, but now if I make an AC recipe, we all have it. I really like the Hairy Dieters books too - the fish pie is amazeballs and you can tweak it for you hubby to make his a bit more calorific. From memory, a lot of the recipes are fairly quick to do and mega yummy!

  • I totally get you. Our family structure is quite similar to yours, so I feel your pain. I'm a bit of a foodie, trying to eat healthier and less. I'm m lucky in the sense i don't like sweets and a lot of junk food. But my dad and my aunt,plus one of my cousins have type 2 diabetes, so genetically I'm not so blessed.My husband's s worse, while liking seafood and some of the good stuff, he likes to snack on junk food, skips meals and almost never have breakfast. My son I would say mostly good, like most veggie and almost all fruits, milk, likes good seafood but not a big fun of meat and rice.but the older he gets, he's also 3, the more bad, sugary junk food he likes and gets from family. It's hard living with family with bad eating habits. My approach is he's with me most of the time, so while I explain to friends and family why I prefer healthier option for my son, I try not to lose it when they give my son junk food. So here are a few ideas of quick healthy family meals, hopefully you find a useful one.

    1. Omelette (add any thing you like, I.e. prawns, pepper, onions, ham), chips ( or Spanish omelettes if you like potatoes in your omelettes), tinned macker salad ( see details in my other salad post). I have a lot salad and 10 to 12 chips. 20 mins.

    2.baked potato (or microwaved)will filling you like, and salad (see recipe 1), like tuna with reduced fat mayonnaise, and I put jalapenos for mine.

    3. Pesto Tagiatelle with courgett and baked trout, cover trout with pesto and tinfoil, bake in the oven about 20 mins, while waiting, boil tagiatelle, use peeler to slice courgett and add to tagiatelle, drain well stir in more pesto and add baked pesto trout on top. You can add some chopped almonds if you like.

  • Great ideas thank you! Nice to have someone in a similar boat too x

  • I am using the hairy dieters - they do an express one which are meant to be quick. Husband and kids like it😀

  • Jamie Olivers Everyday Superfood book is good for ideas too, calorie counted and healthy recipes suitable for families.

  • Thanks for all the tips and encouragement! I think I'll look up hairy dieters and some of the other cookbooks or websites at the weekend. Thank you!

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