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Family Meals - Better for Children, Easier for You

Another day, another dinner to prepare. Are you having a difficult time finding easy to prepare meals that can satisfy your growing family?

You want to give your family the best, but time is in short supply and preparing a healthy meal has become a chore. Too often take out or frozen dinners have to do. Is there a way to combine healthy eating with convenience?

Yes! New methods of cooking and easy to prepare staples can change your eating habits and lead to a better eating style for your family. According to the 'Kid's Health' Program created by the Nemours Foundation, family meals are an important part of developing healthy habits in your kids. Eating as a family will encourage your kids to eat healthy foods like whole grains and vegetables. It will discourage unhealthy snacking and even make them less likely to try smoking, alcohol or marijuana.

But how do you plan healthy family meals on a tight schedule? Here are some ideas to start:

Does your family love lasagna? Maybe you thought that it was a labor intensive dish that just doesn't fit your lifestyle. Cheesy and full of fat, perhaps it's not even a wise choice. However, lasagna is actually one of the most versatile meals to prepare - and with instant (no boil) noodles, it doesn't even have to be a big job.

There are lasagna recipes for vegetarians, low-carb, low-fat and even diabetic diets. Lasagna noodles now come in instant, no-cook preparations that cut time and energy when making this hearty dish.

For lasagna or other pasta dishes, try using whole wheat pasta and shredding carrots or zucchini into the meat sauce for an easy way to up the nutritional value. Using lean ground beef or even substituting with ground turkey or chicken can make for a surprising, yet nourishing result. Buy bottled pasta sauces for even faster preparation - many grocers carry a wide assortment that will add variety to your dishes.

Looking for an elegant chicken dinner? Don't forget about frozen skinless chicken breasts. Baked in the oven with a dollop of salsa and shredded cheddar on top makes for a healthy alternative to frying or heavy sauces.

Need ideas for a side dish? Why are you wasting time cutting and washing lettuce when you can pick up a prepackaged bag at the grocers? Not to say it's the cheapest method, but it definitely helps busy families put nutrition ahead of convenience when planning a meal.

Have you ever tried steaming vegetables in the microwave? Fresh or frozen veggies make for another easy side dish when they're popped into the microwave for a few minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water and cover with a paper towel, an easy AND healthy alternative to frying or boiling.

We're all concerned about our children eating healthier foods. Regular family meals will encourage kids to develop healthy eating habits - an important key to good health later in life. By making meal time less stressful you can focus on the joys of spending time together instead of the hassles of preparing meals.

Submitted by:

Michael Colucci

Michael Colucci

For free cooking recipes visit Daily Recipes or www.dailyrecipes.net

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