Creating healthy dinner recipes is very simple using your familys favorite standbys. It just requires a minor adjustment in buying habits and a little experimentation and creativity.
The first thing to do is determine what meals can be made as vegetarian meals. Throwing one vegetarian meal a week in is a healthy adjustment for any family to make. Some ideas are substituting spaghetti squash for noodles with your favorite marinara sauce, making veggie chili, a hearty veggie soup instead of beef stew, or even vegetarian lasagna. Try portabella mushrooms on the grill in place of meat patties for burgers.
Another wise step is to switch to healthier, lower fat meats. Use more seafood, chicken, turkey, and low fat cuts of beef. Ground chicken or turkey is great in tacos and spaghetti. Ground chicken, even mixed with some ground beef, can make a much healthier burger patty as well.
Provide vegetables and fruits as your main dishes with meats as a tasty add on to cut back on fats and increase fiber, minerals, and vitamins in the meals.
An easy move that your family will never notice is beginning to use healthier fats to cook with. For example, switching to olive oil adds a great flavor and is much healthier than other oils and fats for cooking. Extra light olive oil can even be used in your baking without altering the taste at all. Heart healthy butter and margarine, such as Smart Balance is much better for your family as well.
Using no fat dairy products sometimes takes some time for people to get used to, but once you have adjusted it is not bad at all. No fat milk, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, and even harder cheeses like mozzerella are available. This eliminates unhealthy fat and lots of calories. Your kids will not know the difference if they have no fat sour cream on their soft taco instead of regular.
Using complex carbohydrates in your regular recipes is also a very heatlhy move. Making the move to whole grain flour (sometimes it needs to be mixed with white flour for cakes, brownies, or cookies) and whole grain pastas makes a huge difference in the feeling of satiety and the healthiness of the meal. If your kids balk at first, try using half regular pasta and half whole grain until they adjust. For breakfasts, serve hot cereals or cold cereals that are made with whole grains and chop some fruit on top.
As you can see, you don’t have to become a vegetarian in order to make a healthy meal. By using more veggies and fruits, less fat and healthier fat, and complex carbs, you can continue to eat healthier versions of your favorite meals!