7 Easy Weeknight Meals for Your Family
Cooking healthy weeknight meals for your family is possible with the right recipes. Here are some to try.
Helping kids with homework and keeping up with activities and household chores doesn't leave a lot of time to focus on meals during the busy work week. Yet studies show that mealtimes are an important ingredient for a happy, healthy family life. Making easy weeknight meals is the key to busting out of a fast food rut and savoring home-cooked meals with your family.
When families eat together at home, the benefits are both nutritional and emotional. "Family dinners are a great time to bond and grow as a family and share tidbits about your day. They're linked to improved emotional and physical health," notes nutritionist Rania Batayneh, who holds a master's degree in public heath and wrote the best-selling book "The One One One Diet."
"Studies indicate that sharing a family meal is correlated with lower rates of eating disorders, as well as higher GPAs and self-esteem," says Batayneh. "They're also often more nutritious. Restaurant meals are notorious for being higher in overall calories, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat."
Holistic health and nutrition blogger Katie Kahvo, who holds a bachelor of arts degree in community health sciences and is currently enrolled at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition agrees. "When you create your own meals, it is much more likely that you will be consuming a higher level of nutrients within a balanced meal," she says. "Balanced meals allow for better absorption of minerals and nutrients which strengthen the immune system and allow your body to function at a more optimal level."
Creating healthy and easy weeknight meals for your family is a good and highly obtainable goal! Here is a list of 7 recipes to try:
- Cauliflower Pizza
Grate or food-process cauliflower, steam it, and mix it with cheese, seasonings, and an egg in this cauliflower pizza recipe from Tasty Kitchen. Form it into a pizza crust, bake and then top with your favorite toppings and bake again, briefly. No kneading, no rising -- it's even easier to work with than traditional pizza dough, which makes it perfect for weeknights.
- Chili and Cornbread
Make a quick pot of chili, such as Budget Byte's black bean chili. Saute onion and garlic, brown ground turkey, add beans, tomatoes, and seasonings and then simmer. Meanwhile, mix and bake a good cornbread mix. Dinner will be on the table in 30 minutes, tops.
- Balsamic Pork Chops
Saute the pork chops with olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar with this recipe from The Gracious Pantry. Add veggies and mashed potatoes. This meal has only a few ingredients, making it perfect for even the busiest nights.
- Broiled Salmon
Salmon is a versatile fish because it doesn't require a lot in terms of prep work. Buy it fresh or frozen and add rice and steamed broccoli for this well-rounded meal. Weelicious has a handy video to show you how to broil it.
- Roasted Vegetables and Noodles
Roast zucchini and asparagus, toss with linguine and fresh basil for a quick, tasty, vegetarian meal.
- BLT Salad and Sweet Potato Fries
This tasty salad from Julia's Album tops homemade sweet potato fries, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, spinach and fresh tomatoes with a tangy, mayo-based dressing. You can serve this deconstructed if you have picky eaters -- they are sure to find something to like!
By finding recipes that cater to your busy weeknight, your family members won't have to compromise on nutrition or taste. They'll benefit from the togetherness, too!
Want more ideas? Try these 9 Quick Weeknight Meals.
Devan McGuinness is a Toronto-based freelance writer who specializes in parenting and lifestyle topics. Keep up to date with this homeschooling mom of four on Twitter.