Tips for Planning Your
Next Family Meal

Keep your meal planning simple.

You don't have to make elaborate, complicated meals to eat healthy. You can make time for healthy, homecooked meals every night!

Think a quick stir-fry or a fresh local produce ingredient salad.

Add a Mexican or Italian twist and you have a unprocessed, healthy meal in minutes. 

Try the Quick Start Meal Plan - 21 Days of Easy Menu Ideas for Your Family 

As a parent do you ever wonder what portion sizes and nutrients does your preschool-age child need?

What about your 10-year old who is fast becoming a teen-ager? And what about the teen-ager who is eating you out of house and home?

Dr. Mary Gavin, Dr. Steven Dowshen and Dr. Neil Izenberg, medical experts from the Kids Health organization have written a book called Fit KIDS: A Practical Guide to Raising Healthy & Active Children From Birth to Teens.

In the book the authors provide one-day menu plans for all ages from toddlers to teenagers. Click here to view the one-day meal plan now for children aged 2 to 18 years old. 

Meal Planning Begins with Great Kid-Focused Cookbooks

Lynn Fredericks, author of Cooking Time Is Family Time: Cooking Together, Eating Together, and Spending Time Together is on a mission to bring families together around delicious, fresh food. 

She is now seeing this goal realized: Moms are beginning to get out of the convenience habit of buying fast food or unhealthy frozen meals.

Precut veggies in the supermarket and other short cuts that make “from scratch” more doable are a positive trend.

According to Lynn, this helps parents, who still perceive cooking as time-consuming, buy into the idea that getting kids to help in the kitchen is a path to less picky kids and less stressed parents! 

Cooking for Kids Cookbooks with Easy Recipes & Color Photos

Williams Sonoma Kids Baking 

Kitchen for Kids: 100 Amazing Recipes Your Children Can Really Make 

The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers: Improving the Way Your Family Eats, One Meal at a Time! 

Try for these goals over the next 3-6 months:

1. Serve vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots two or three times a week.

2. Eat one more serving of fruit per day, such as an apple,pear or banana. Make sure to keep them washed and available on the kitchen counter.

3. Serve fish for dinner once a week.

4. Try at least two vegetarian meals a month with means as the main course.

5. Serve a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal to your kids at breakfast.

6. Switch to a whole grain bread intead of white bread.

7. Pack vegetables to take to work every other day. 

I recently found a cookbook that is great for busy parents who want to save some time each day and still eat a healthy meal!

This e-cookbook contains 101 recipes for quick and easy dinners - most can be prepared in less than 30 minutes!

Each recipe comes with several useful features: 

-Time-saving tips

-Nutritional information per serving

-Estimated prep and cooking times

-Suggested healthy side dishes

-No fancy ingredients or equipment required

The Healthy Express Cookbook: 101 Fresh, Light & Quick Dinners meets 3 VERY IMPORTANT CRITERIA...

-Quick and easy to prepare

-Healthy and nutritious


Here are just a few of the recipes you could make tonight for dinner...

Southwestern Chicken & Black Bean Salad in 21 minutes!

Pesto-Foccaccia Sandwiches in 5 minutes!

Salmon, Red Potato and Corn Chowder in 28 minutes!

Vegetable Quesadillas in 23 minutes!

Feta-Stuffed Greek Burgers in 20 minutes!

Halibut Steaks with Orange-Herb Marinade in 15 minutes!

Citrus Flank Steak with Fruit Salsa in 22 minutes!

Mozzarella Chicken with Spaghetti in 15 minutes! 

You can buy the Healthy Express Cookbook for just $12.95. It comes in a convenient PDF format. Upon completion of purchase, you will be able to immediately download your copy of the e-cookbook!

So take your family dietitian's recommendation to try a new set of recipes and impress your family! 

Dinners in a Dash! '101 Fresh, Light and Quick Dinner Ideas' Can Help You Solve Your Dinner Dilemmas!

Meal Basics For Families

  • Eat three meals a day. Don't skip breakfast.
  • Limit liquid calories. Look over the whole meal, including the drinks. Are they adding positive nutrition to the meal or extra calories without natural nutrients?
  • Pack a meal for school or work if possible.
  • Limit where the family eats. If the rule is eating only in the kitchen or dining room, you will head off starting habits like mindless munching in front of the television.
  • Make a milk switch. If children are over age 2, you can save a lot of calories from higher fat milk and your children will still get the full benefit of 9 essential nutrients milk has to offer when the rule is milk with meals.
  • Switch from white bread to a hearty whole wheat bread.
  • One or two snacks a day is fine, and even recommended; fruit, cheese, nuts, raw vegetables and dip.
  • Eat fresh, natural, unprocessed foods. Shop a couple of times a week so you have fresh foods available.
  • Keep other essential ingredients on hand, like olive oil and garlic.
  • Aim for a dinner plate with at least 50 percent vegetables, excluding starches like potatoes and corn. If fresh vegetable aren't available or are too expensive, substiture frozen. Bottom line, add another cup of raw vegetables and a piece of fresh fruit to your meal.
  • Eat protein at every meal and snack. This helps you feel full.
  • Use "juice drinks" sparingly, instead of drinking lots of juice, which has highly concentrated sugar, eat the whole fruit.
  • Have a family mealtime and turn off the TV. Television watching can lead to "unconscious eating"; you don't realize you eat, and your hunger remains unsatisfied.

Your Guide to Nutrition-Packed Superfoods

Put some power in your diet with these fresh, delicious foods that can be part of your weekly menu planning. Think of them as packing a nutrition punch with each serving your family eats. 

Avocados - plenty of cholesterol-lowering and cancer fighting agents, plus monounsaturated fats your body needs. Add a slice or two to your salad.

Blueberries - antioxidant and fiber rich, these deep-blue babies also pack vitamin C, cancer-fighting agents and tannins that help prevent urinary tract infections.

Brazil Nuts - eat just two a day to get your dose of selenium, which may guard against colon and lung cancers.

Broccoli - this crunchy veggie is loaded with potent anticancer substances and fiber too. Not a fan? Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage provide similar benefits.

Butternut squash - one cup cooked provides more than 4 times the recommended daily value of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A for healthy eyes, bones and skin. It's also rich in calcium.

Kale - this leafy green delivers an antioxidant that guards against eye diseases and may filter out blue light which has been shown to damage the retina. Try spinach, collards and turnip greens for similar benefits.

Kiwi fruit - vitamins and minerals galorie with twice the vitamin C and fiber of a small orange. Plus potassium, folate, magnesium, vitamin E, copper and lutein.

Lentils - these gems require no pre-soaking, unlike other beans, and are an excellent meat alternative, since they provide protein and iron. They also provide folate and fiber.

Tomatoes - these juicy treats deliver lycopene, which is thought to reduce the risk of many cancers and possibly prevent against heart disease and bone loss. Serve or cook them with a healthy fat like olive oil to increase lycopene absorption.

Yogurt - rich in calcium and protein as well as good bacteria,which boosts immunity and digestion. Plus, recent research suggests that low-fat dairy helps with weight loss.

Soy - a wealth of vitamins, minerals, protein, and omega-3 essential fatty acids which may even help to reduce the risk of heart disease if eaten with a diet already low in saturated fats.

Tea - contains over 4,000 antioxidant compounds which may stop cell damage by keeping free radical neutral.