Cooking is one of the most basic skills that you will need to live a happy and healthy life. Like I have mentioned in previous blog posts, it’s a good idea to get a grasp on the preparation of some basic food groups. This way, you can develop a very diverse menu based on basic proteins, vegetable, starches, and fruits. You will be able to keep your family guessing for months on end with an impressive variety of meals that are sure to satisfy even the picky eaters that will pull a chair up to your kitchen table.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While I’m not too sure if it’s any more important than any of the other meals really, I do think that you need something substantial to get you started in the morning. There are a few staples to will allow you to satisfy your family. I want to touch on a couple of those now:
It’s hard to beat eggs in the morning. My go-to breakfast is some scrambled eggs with chopped up avocado mixed in. I like this meal a lot because of the high protein content of the eggs and the good fats that come with the avocado. Usually a bowl of scrambled eggs will be too dry for me to really enjoy, but the avocado makes it very creamy and delightful. Here’s a video of the famous Gordon Ramsey showing you how to make the perfect scrambled eggs:
While my friends and family know that I’m usually the first person to give pancakes a hard time for their low nutritional content, it’s still useful to know how to make them. You may want to serve them in a variety of different situations. I’m not disagreeing with how delicious they are (they are ‘cake’ after all). Here’s an AllRecipes guide on how to make delicious ones from scratch at home:
Protein is one of the most important macronutrients for your body. This is especially true with growing kids (even more true when they’re physically active like mine are). Lack of protein is a good reason to keep a meal on the shelf. For example, eating pasta for dinner can be quite delicious. But, it makes you think. What is exactly in this meal that’s good for my family. In the case of the typical pasta and red sauce dish, there isn’t a whole lot of beneficial content. It’s mostly just carbs. That’s another important thing to think about when meal planning for your family.
Chicken is one of the most lean and healthy proteins that you can feed your family with. I suggest using cage-free, antibiotic-free chicken – which you can find at your local health food grocery store. The last thing that you want is chemicals in your food that can transfer themselves into you family’s bodies (yuck).
There are many different ways to prepare chicken. It can be baked in the oven as whole breasts, sliced then and cooked stovetop, or even stuffed with your favorite vegetables and cheeses for a welcome change. One of my favorite ways to cook chicken for my family is chicken fajitas. My family and I adore Mexican inspired foods. Basically, anything that we can put inside of a tortilla is eaten very quickly.
Steak (and other red meats) can be very tasty and a good source of protein and other minerals. However, red meat should be consumed sparingly. An overabundance of red meat in the diet can cause problems with the digestive tract and even promote some types of cancer. This is another prime reason to vary your diet with lots of vegetables and some fruits to balance things out.
If you’re still on board and the cancer bit didn’t scare you off of the website, then here’s a video on how to cook the perfect steak every single time. I have found this very helpful when making steaks at home. It was a little bit easier in a commercial kitchen with all of the proper tools and equipment, but things can get a little bit trickier at home with a small kitchen and a couple of screaming, hungry children (and one hungry husband). It’s back to Gordon Ramsey for this one:
Vegetables (whether it be in a stir-fry, a salad, smoothie, or any other way you can possibly consume them) are one of the best ways to get the proper micronutrients and your body needs to survive and thrive. A healthy respect for and desire to consume vegetables in various forms is a great way to get your kids to want to eat them on a daily basis. This is the way that we have raised our kids and they love vegetables.
Salads are one of the main ‘delivery methods’ is use to get my family to eat vegetables. It’s very surprising to me how many people have troubles getting their kids to eat vegetables and other similar foods. This is largely dependent on how they’re first introduced to the child. It’s also important to consider your own attitudes towards vegetables. You can’t ask you kids to love something that you’re not even that fond of yourself now can you?
Sometimes it’s difficult to incorporate a vegetable on your plate. There are certain meals that will leave you scratching your head on what vegetable to pair it with. This is where salad can be a true hero. Can’t find a vegetable that makes sense to put on the plate? Just make a big salad with a handful of different ingredients and you’re on your way to satisfying the vegetable requirements. Another tip about keeping salad healthy is to try and steer yourself away from the really heavy/fatty dressings such as ranch, 1000 island, bleu cheese, etc. It’s often better to stick to oil and vinegar based dressings. They will have less calories and put more focus on enjoying the actual taste of the food that’s being eaten, rather than just enjoying the dressing. Here’s a video on how to put together a basic, healthy salad that is sure to keep your family reaching for more: