Somewhere between our engagement and wedding day, my mom said to my now-husband, “She’s a great cook when she cooks.” Thanks, Mom! LOL. It’s true. I don’t love cooking. I don’t even like cooking. I cook to eat for our genetics and teach our three daughters how to make easy, healthy, great-tasting meals.
If you’re like me and always looking for ways to make dinner a breeze, don’t give up. Get excited! After reading this post, you’ll be thrilled with three more tips for easy healthy dinners (at least 6 out of 7 nights a week.)
DOUBLE-BATCH FAMILY FAVORITES
When our kids were younger, I pretended to like cooking and baking because I thought they’d love me more if I was that kind of mom. (Silly thinking, Mama!) Being who you are is so much more refreshing and lovable.
Our music-obsessed daughter sometimes turns on the tunes when we make dinner together. She has her way of bringing more joy to the process, making silly dance moves which make me LAUGH, especially when I try to mimic her. Connection is the most incredible gift cooking has brought me and one I’d never fully receive pretending to be someone I’m not.
Besides having more fun in the kitchen, we make healthy dinners easier by doubling or tripling the recipes our family loves. We eat the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. You can freeze what’s leftover, but that rarely happens in our home. What’s worked best for us is making the double/triple recipe on Saturday or Sunday, so we don’t have to cook Sunday or Monday. Find a system that works for you and stick with it.
Our family favorites change, but some have lasted through the years like these Quick Cowboy Beans for Nacho Night and Turkey and Bean Chili. Another family favorite is this Mediterranean Grilled Chicken and Veggie Salad:
Marinade: ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 tsp of each (salt, pepper, basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard). Marinate chicken, then grill it. Dress chopped veggies (cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, red onions) with extra marinade. Serve with brown rice and a side of hummus. Top with olives, pine nuts, and feta (click for dairy-free cheese we love!)
Connection is the most incredible gift cooking has brought me and one I’d never fully receive pretending to be someone I’m not.
TRY OUT A MEAL KIT DELIVERY SERVICE
We relied too heavily on family favorites in the past, so dinnertime became “not this again!” My friend shared her solution to the weekly nightmare of getting dinner on the table: meal planning and prep on Sunday. I thought, ‘It can’t be that bad,’ and decided to give it a go. Yo! By the second or third week, I rushed outside to escape the kitchen! My body language must have spoken volumes because my neighbor looked at me concerned and said, ‘Are you alright?’ LOL.
Unless you love cooking (I envy you!), likely, you’re not a huge fan of meal planning and prep. Meal kit delivery services take a massive load off your plate by prepping your meals every week. Hello, happiness! I’m not going to lie and tell you I now love cooking. But recently, while tossing pre-cut beets with roughly chopped red peppers drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, there was a flash of ‘this is fun!’
We’ve tried a few different meal kit delivery services but fell in love with Green Chef. They’re a USDA-certified organic company that works with farmers to source sustainable, delicious ingredients. The recipes are quick, with step-by-step instructions and photos so even little ones can help out. What’s surprising is how tasty these meals are, packed with flavors we haven’t tried recently or sometimes ever.
Maybe your family will become a fan of Green Chef like ours. Patience and persistence win the game. Discover how Green Chef meal kits make easy healthy dinners that align with your DNA and how to try a week’s worth of Green Chef for FREE!
Unless you love cooking (I envy you!), likely, you’re not a huge fan of meal planning and prep. Meal kit delivery services take a massive load off your plate by prepping your meals every week. Hello, happiness!
ZAG ONE DAY A WEEK
By doubling/tripling recipes on Saturday/Sunday for Monday and using meal kits for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we’ve made it to FriYAY! On Fridays, we zag with pizza night. I learned the term ‘zag’ at a health retreat and loved it! It’s a reminder that to achieve vibrant health, we don’t need to eat perfectly every day of the week or every day of the month. If we make great choices most of the time, we can zag the other 20% (roughly one day a week or six days a month.)
Most Fridays are pizza night – which has transformed over the years to accommodate eating for our genetics. Some family members are gluten intolerant, others dairy intolerant, and still others high-glycemic carb intolerant. Some of us are all three! Lucky me. Pizza night became a battle over which restaurant makes the best gluten-free crust, none of which, by the way, were ever inexpensive.
Now we conquer pizza night with a two-part solution that creates delicious pizzas in under 20 minutes for less. We pick up Sabatasso’s Gluten-Free Four-Cheese Pizza from the frozen section of Costco’s for the gluten intolerant and Capello’s Naked Pizza Crust from the frozen section of Whole Foods for the dairy and high-glycemic carb intolerant. The naked crust is delicious topped with a thin layer of pizza sauce (or spaghetti sauce) and Violife Vegan Mozerella Shreds. Everybody adds their desired toppings like pepperoni, sliced peppers, and chopped spinach. Voila! Food heaven.
I learned the term ‘zag’ at a health retreat and loved it! It’s a reminder that to achieve vibrant health, we don’t need to eat perfectly every day of the week or every day of the month. If we make great choices most of the time, we can zag the other 20%.
That’s a wrap for our weekly easy dinners! Our daughters know they can make healthy meals, improve mom’s feeling towards cooking (LOL), and even enjoy eating for their genetics (most of the time.) Pretty powerful. May the force be with you as you double-batch family favorites, try out a meal kit delivery service, and zag with pizza night your way! Remember, progress over perfection.
If you’re looking for more easy meal suggestions, discover our favorite plant-based breakfast filled with organic veggies and only 1 gram of added sugar! It’s one part of the easy button for nutrition.
#WeAreInThisTogether for #HealthyChange
P.S. You don’t have to love the kitchen to inspire children to eat well. Research shows you just have to engage them in the meal process:
- Ask them what they want for dinner this week (meal planning)
- Ask them to measure and mix the spices or chop the veggies (meal prepping)
- Ask them to brown the meat or stir the pot (cooking)
Initially, engaging children in the meal process can feel like more work, but over time can mean less work for you! We’ve discovered little sous-chefs become great cooks, bakers, and even kitchen cleaners.
About the Author: Dr. Sue
Sue McCreadie, MD (aka Dr. Sue), is a board-certified pediatric physician and wellness expert with two decades of experience helping thousands of families achieve vibrant health. In her pediatric practice, Dr. Sue helps children adapt their diet and lifestyle to optimize their genetics for health naturally. Online Dr. Sue helps other women learn how to eat for their genetics and use a nutritional system to feel confident with energy to live their best life. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Dave, and their three children, Kaitlin, Elle, and Addison.