Cook for your family ‘s wellbeing: Energy boosting, healthy and totally versatile meals parents and kids will enjoy
As parents, we know how important it is to not only stay healthy, but to also have lots of energy. After all, we want to be the best parents we can be for as long as possible. For the single parents amongst us, longevity and energy are even more vital. So, what can you do to optimise your health and energy levels and that of your family? A good starting point would be to watch what you put into your body, i.e., your diet.
We all know that a healthy meal consists of a combination of foods from different food groups: fruits and vegetables, proteins, dairy or fats, and grains. A healthy meal should provide the right nutrients without making you feel sluggish. It must have sufficient and ‘good’ calories to get you through your day. So, to get you on the right track and keep your body healthy and happy, we have chosen 5 meal suggestions for you that are healthy and balanced and will boost your energy levels. You never know, you might end up liking them so much that they become a part of your weekly eating routine.
1. All-in-one pot roast
Pot roasts are generally done on the stove, in the oven, or in a slow cooker. However, the fastest way to make them is by using an instant pot. A pot roast is essentially a meat dish cooked at a low temperature over several hours in a covered casserole – unless you have a handy instant pot. This cooking method makes the flesh melt away from the bone and soft and easy to chew, even for the youngest family members.
Usually, pot roast is done with beef. The harder cuts such as chuck, brisket, and round (from the rear leg of the beef) are the ideal cuts for a beef pot roast. This dish needs a lot of cooking time but takes little effort, so you can prepare the ingredients, throw them in, set a timer, and walk away.
A pot roast might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a healthy balanced meal. The key is in the combo. It is super easy to add brown rice, sweet potatoes, onions, and your favourite vegetables, herbs and spices in with the pot roast and produce an aromatic nutritious meal full of vitamins, protein, and iron.
2. Black bean omelette
This is a healthy and satisfying vegetarian breakfast or lunch, that can be adapted for any family member by adding favourite herbs, spices, or home-grown vegetables. You will need at least 40 to 80 grams of black beans per person to accomplish a satisfying omelette. If you are watching your weight, you might want to use egg whites only. Just remember that good calories mean energy and that egg yolk is packed with choline, which has been shown to help reduce body fat.
With this meal, you get plant-based protein alongside egg protein. In addition, black beans provide you with lots of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The latter 3 have shown to decrease blood pressure. Black beans are a real super food also helping to aid digestion through their fibre content and even stabilising sugar levels, which is important to regulate energy levels as well as for the management of diabetes.
This meal is super healthy, and protein packed. Fry the omelette in olive oil and pair it with some avocado, cheese, or humous for healthy fats, and eat it with toast or rice if it is to replace a bigger meal.
3. Overnight oats
You have probably heard about the health benefits of eating oats, and your kids probably love a bit of porridge. But did you know that oats soaked overnight have a much higher nutritional, vitamin, and fibre content compared to oats cooked just before eating? This is because the starch in the oats is broken down, and more nutrients are absorbed by the oats during the overnight soaking process.
Overnight oats are also a great food if your family wants to lose weight. They are high in fibre keeping you feeling full for longer. They also increase insulin production leading to fat burning, reduce bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Depending on your taste preferences there are so many different ways of preparing overnight oats. The key is to soak them in a liquid for 7 to 8 hours before eating. You can use milk, water, almond milk, coconut milk, or even curd. The more milk you use, the creamier the texture. If you like, you can add vanilla or cinnamon for added flavour. Be bold and experiment! All you need to do the next morning is to mix or top your overnight oats with a choice of fresh or dried fruits and nuts. If you like it more savoury, add salt and spices.
4. Protein pancakes
Protein pancakes are an excellent choice for lovers of all things sweet who want a healthier option than sugar-filled sweets. Pancakes are very easy to create because all the components can be blended in a bowl and thrown in a pan.
Most protein pancakes have these basic ingredients: bananas, rolled oats or almond flour, protein powder, water or milk, and optional eggs. Bananas serve as a healthy sweetener, so that you don’t have to add processed sugar. The eggs provide extra protein but are not a necessary ingredient if you add protein powder to your pancakes. Mix the ingredients and add your favourite flavours (cinnamon, lemon, vanilla, etc.) and satisfy your sweet tooth and that of your kids.
This is another super versatile way to feed a family because everyone can choose their own toppings. Adding some nut butter for good healthy fats is a great idea. Protein pancakes also taste wonderful with Greek yogurt, maple syrup, agave, or honey, but all in measure. If you want to be sure that you serve your family a balanced meal, serve them with fruit, vegetables, nuts, or seeds.
5. Indian Dahl
Dahl is a term used for dried and split legumes (lentils, peas, beans), but it’s also the name of the dish itself. Although a dahl is a curry, it is thicker, resembling a stew more in its consistency. Lentils have been used in cooking around the world for a long time and remain a staple food in Middle Eastern and Indian diets.
With an Indian Lentil Dahl, it’s difficult to go wrong. Once you have learnt how to cook lentils, this dish is really fast and easy to make, and you can tailor the recipes to your family or kids’ tastes and preferences. Micro and macronutrients such as carbohydrates and proteins can be found aplenty in this dish, and it is as nutritious as it is delicious. In the autumn and winter, this is a fantastic meal to keep you warm. What is even better is that lentils are cheap and can be kept in the kitchen cupboard for 2 to 3 years. Having the main ingredient available for this dish means you can rustle up a dahl anytime the kids or you fancy. Throw in some greens, such as spinach or peas and the vitamin content soars further. Pair it with an Indian naan bread or brown rice and create a hearty meal that the whole family will enjoy.