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Healthy family meals to get you through January without using the ‘diet’ word

Healthy family meals to get you through January without using the ‘diet’ word

Lose weight, exercise more, drink less.

These are probably the three most common New Year’s resolutions that you’ve half-heartedly signed up for in Januarys past.

But what then if you’re starting the new year pregnant?

What do we pledge then?

Of course there are plenty of things we can promise to do to make us a better person.

Be kinder to ourselves, give more to charity, be less selfish to others and so on.

From a health and well-being point of view though, what diet goals can a mum to be set for the new year?

Less diet, more lifestyle changes

I actually really love a diet.

There’s something appealing in researching and preparing new nutritional plans, and getting stuck into a new exercise regime.

I know, weird right?

As I’m currently feeling the size of a baby whale though, this year I’m letting it bypass me.

I am however, still left with a desire to find and cook new recipes. This time though, I want them to be easy, healthy and convenient family meals. I’m taking a break from impractical high-protein low carb options.

So here are 4 ideas of healthy family meals ideal for pregnancy. Packed full of goodness, to give you energy and satisfy any carbohydrate cravings, they are also super simple.

Roasted vegetable and chicken traybake with quinoa

(30 minutes cooking time)

Much to my husband’s protest, we don’t eat a lot of red meat in our house. I’ll always opt for chicken or fish by default. He’d take any opportunity to eat a steak / burger / bacon sandwich when it’s up for grabs.

I made this traybake by laying a load of fresh vegetables on a roasting tray, drizzling with a little olive oil, sprinkling over some herbs (whatever I found in the cupboard), and laying the chicken on top. I often shake cajun or jerk spice over the chicken but this time used some other spice grinder I find at the back of the cupboard. Bake for about half an hour on about 175 degrees C.

At my daughter’s request, I served with a packet of microwaved wild rice and quinoa for some carbohydrates to make sure we were all full up.

Quorn stir fry

(10-15 minutes cooking time)

Particularly tired this night, I opted for Quorn pieces to save time and add protein to this dish. We usually refer to it as “ficken” (fake chicken) and I have to say, I’m a fan mostly because it doesn’t need defrosting and takes only a few minutes to cook.

Whack the ficken in a pan with a little oil, cook for a few minutes, and then add a pre-packed stir fry vegetable mix in, we vary between a shop-bought sauce or a mix of soy sauce, fish sauce, ground cumin, coriander and ginger, garlic and toasted sesame oil depending how organised I am.

Once the sauce has cooked for a few minutes, pop in some noodles and an egg if you like them. Stir fry until cooked through and serve.

Anything in the fridge omelette

(30 minutes cooking time)

Before I went to university, my Mum taught me to make her idea of a Spanish omelette. It basically included anything she had in the fridge (must be genetic). So when I have things that need finishing off before they get chucked out, an ‘anything omelette’ is the go to dish.

I chopped up onion, pepper, mushroom, reduced fat cooked sausage, and added four eggs whisked with a splash of milk and knob of butter. Cook them off in a large flat pan until the eggs start to go a bit puffy, sprinkle with cheese and on this occasion, I added some leftover baked beans and grated cheese (yes, I’m a student again). Grill under a medium heat to add a crisp and serve with salad.

Covering all of the major food groups!

Spaghetti Bolognese

(40 minutes cooking time)

A stock favourite for most families, this is always a winner with each person around the table. Guaranteed to give you your 5 a day. A great one for picky kids who put up a fight when it comes to eating veggies.

Chopped up two carrots, two sticks of celery, a large onion and also some mushrooms if you can sneak them in. Heat up some olive oil, add the vegetables, cook until they start to go tender and take on some colour. Add your meat (I used 500g of 5% fat lean minced beef) with a splodge of garlic purée, sprinkle on some mixed herbs, crumble in a beef stock cube, and cook until the meat has browned. Add at least one tin of chopped tomatoes with a little water (or two tins if you like yours more saucy), a squirt of tomato purée, and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, boil up a pan of water and cook enough spaghetti or other pasta shapes for your hungry diners.

Serve when ready, and add some garlic bread or salad if desired.

What quick and nutritious meals that all the family will love can you suggest?


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