how often do you have a takeaway and do you monitor what your family eats?

(19 Posts)
Giraffe5 Wed 02-Mar-16 14:04:06

I'm getting quite paranoid about the food I'm putting on my family's plate. I've just been speaking to friends and they were shocked that we had take aways.

We have take away once a week and eat out usually once a week. I'm now scrutinising the salt intake. What other things should I be monitoring? Saturated fats? We eat a lot of fruit and veg but usually in shop bought sauces when I cook at home.

My family are super precious and I feel a great responsibility for their health. Help!

SleepyRoo Wed 02-Mar-16 16:33:56

We have takeaway once a week but only for us parents, not kids. It sounds like you're providing good meals for your family if there is plenty of fruit & veg. Do you actually need to use shop-bought sauces at all? They can be very salty/over processed. Cooking food in olive oil, with basic flavours of lemon, garlic, tomato or creme fraiche is better in as much as you know exactly what's going into the food. Needn't take too long to cook either.

RosyCat Wed 02-Mar-16 23:54:43

Know what you mean about family being precious and also about realising what an important building block food is in our lives.

We have a pizza once week or so. From a local italian place that imports it's flour from Italy, makes it's own dough from scratch, uses free-range chicken, offers gluten/dairy free options etc.

I think the main thing is to cook a lot from scratch, mostly so you know what is going into things, and find sensible time saving pre-prepared alternatives sometimes. That goes for both cooking at home and eating out- a restaurant that cooks most of it's own foods from scratch is different proposition from a chain place that reheats stuff.

So some shop bought sauces are fine- just check the ingredients label on them to see if they sound like food rather than a chemistry dissertation.

So yes, keep an eye on salt and saturated fat, also maybe free sugars, but also have some positive things like upping fruit and veg, omega 3 etc, how much is fresh. Also I think food quality is important, so things like things being in season, local, free-range/organic or from a trusted supplier if that's your thing.

For example, on place we lived, there was a local potato/vegetable grower. Both DH and I met people from it through work. They were always sensible, friendly, knowledgeable. The firm donated some produce to a local food project that worked with impoverished families to increase both fresh food availability in areas where there was little fresh food available and to increase cooking/nutrition skills. But not in a showy way. We used to look out for their stuff locally as it was good quality, and now we have moved out of the area, I know what farmer's name to look out for on labels in a couple of supermarkets- their stuff really is good quality so I am loyal to them.

Past that, it's really a case of working out what works best for each individual person.

For example, it works best for me to eat maybe one portion of fruit, a few vegetable based meals and one protein based meal a day. DH is in better health and shape when he eats protein at every meal and also eats a lot more fruit with no troubles. Everyone has slightly different needs based on lifestyle and physiology, so while I don't monitor food, I do often conduct trial and error experiments about what suits people and let that guide what I buy.

ouryve Thu 03-Mar-16 00:06:24

If we had trustworthy take aways, locally, we'd probably have them more often. We had fish and chips, last night. It's a rarity as it's a bit of a drive to get decent ones.

I find that it works best for us to combine fresh home made foods with convenience food. So, for example, I made a lovely mutton (farmer's market) and flageolet bean casserole for tea, but we all want it served different ways. DS1 had his with pasta, DS2 had his with oven chips (both boys have ASD and restricted palates) and I really fancied mash, which was very kindly supplied, ready to heat up, by those kind folk at M&S. Amongst other things, the sauce for the casserole contained carrots, onion, celery and passata.

RosyCat Thu 03-Mar-16 00:08:05

Know what you mean ourvye, we didn't have a takeaway for ages until we moved and found this place close by.

ArriettyMatilda Thu 03-Mar-16 00:34:08

We have take away once a month. This is down to budgeting rather than for health! We also eat an evening meal out once a month and may get a couple of lunches out too. Again due to trying to stick to our budget, but also enjoying life.

I use jars of sauces about once or twice a month and have baked beans once a week (home made beans are not the same). I tend to batch cook meals that you could make from jars using fresh ingredients, like bolognese or chilli con carne or veg ratatouille and freezing in portions so that it's convenient and I know exactly what's gone into it. I jut double up the quantities and freeze half, so it makes it almost as easy as a jar. We have one oven meal a week (like fish fingers, pizza or chicken nuggets). We went through a phase of eating meat every evening meal, but I'm trying to do more fish or vegetarian main meals. I don't keep an eye on fat, I use olive oil, proper butter and full fat milk as I believe the health benefits outweigh the calorie content. Dd is a toddler so I aim for her to eat three meals a day plus one health snack and one "unhealthy" snack/desert (for example packet of crisps or chocolate or a cake). I know she should probably have less than one "treat" a day, but it's not as bad as it could be. I myself eat way to much chocolate, biscuits and cake, but I try to do so when dd is asleep blush

I'd like us to eat more veg so if anyone has any tips in getting more veg into snack/lunch I'd like to hear them. Also breakfast tends to be fruit followed by cereal and I'm not sure cereal is the healthiest breakfast (too processed and too much sugar), but it's a hard habit to break. Lunch is almost always a sandwich, so some new ideas would be good.

I agree with pp about going for jars that list things that sound like food as ingredients and jars are probably slightly healthier than ready meals. How old are your children? Could they provide some input into meals?

Giraffe5 Thu 03-Mar-16 01:47:00

Thanks. These are super helpful replies.

My children are 6 m and 3yo so I'm battling with picky eaters too.

I'm going to try and cook with the flavourings you suggested. Would you just cook chicken with garlic and tinned tomatoes and add it to pasta or would you put lemon juice and chilli with it too (all 4 ingredients)? I know there's hundreds of online recipes, they just all seem to include tons of ingredients which I need to buy but I'd happily keep a stock of tomatoes, chilli, garlic and lemon in the house.

What about for things like fajitas or stews? Do most of you add your own herbs in?? For example, I'm making cottage pie and i use a colemans dry a mix. Is that bad?

Normandy144 Thu 03-Mar-16 03:25:15

We have takeaway about once a fortnight for DP and I only. I tend to cook from scratch 90% of the time. I think once you build up a good store cupboard you can really do away with the need for packets/sauces in jars. It can be expensive to buy lots of herbs and spices etc in one go, so start small and add a few things each week.

For your chicken, I would serve it as a chicken Milanese style with spaghetti in a tomato sauce as follows.....make a tomato sauce; fry chopped onions and garlic in oil until soft. Add some herbs if you wish e.g. Thyme, basil, rosemary etc plus a pinch of chilli. I wouldn't bother with lemon juice. Add a can of tinned chopped tomatoes, season and simmer for 15 mins. Blitz with hand blender, sauce is done. For the chicken you can pan fry breasts as they are, or for Milanese style, flatten the breasts by whacking with a rolling pin, then cover each breast in a light coat of flour, then dip in eggs and finally roll in breadcrumbs (I buy ready made either standard or panko style), then pan fry until golden in some olive oil and butter.

For a cottage pie, I make the filling by frying off carrots, onions and celery, then adding minced beef, tomato purée, some bay leaves and dried thyme and finally some beef stock plus a good splash of worcestshire sauce. I do the same for shepherds pie with lamb, no real need for a sachet. Likewise fajitas - I tend to make it up as I go along but I usually fry everything off with the addition of ground cumin, ground coriander and chilli powder, but there are lots of recipes online for fajita spice mixes. None are difficult to recreate once you have the basic supplies at home.

A good place to start your store cupboard is a local Asian/Indian grocer because they tend to sell spices in larger packets that work out way cheaper than the small pots you find in supermarkets.

ouryve Thu 03-Mar-16 11:02:04

Using a colman's mix is a rather expensive way of doing it. Use a decent stock cube or concentrate, plenty of black pepper and a good pinch of dried thyme and a glug of Worcester sauce for a bit of tang. If it needs thickening, either add a spoonful of flour to the browned mince, at the start and cook through fr a few minutes, or a little slaked cornflour at the end.

A few jars of herbs and spices, plus worcester sauce, is a good place to start.

mercifulTehlu Thu 03-Mar-16 11:15:13

We only have a takeaway once a month, if that. But that's due to money, not health. The main obstacle to a varied and healthy diet in my house is the dc's fussiness (not extreme, but does limit us a bit) and the lure of sugary snacks.
I feel I get stuck in a rut with the meals I make, because it's so irritating to spend time cooking and have the dc turn their noses up. Plus they 'go off' things that they used to like. Dd has now decided she no longer likes spag bol shock.

Dd is very stubborn and doesn't have a big appetite. She just sits there and picks moodily at a meal she doesn't like and will leave the table having eaten practically nothing.

Pinkheart5915 Thu 03-Mar-16 13:40:49

Me and my husband have a take away once a month, we do go out for a meal every 2 weeks as a date night though.
The rest of the time we eat home cooked meals, my husband is very much in to clean/healthy living.
Our son is only 6 months old so will will only start weaning him on to food this week but we have plans to feed him as healthy as we possibly can.

EssentialHummus Thu 03-Mar-16 13:54:52

We eat out at least twice a week, which I'm not always delighted with for health and wallet reasons. But 1) those takeaways are as often as not semi-healthy - stirfry with veg / grilled meat with salad - i.e. we try not to scoff burgers, chips etc - and 2) when we're at home every meal is a piece of baked or grilled meat/fish/chicken and a large salad, with porridge for breakfast. So I feel like we do OK.

redhat Thu 03-Mar-16 13:57:05

Takeaway about once a month, eating out about once every fortnight/3 weeks.

ErgonomicallyUnsound Thu 03-Mar-16 20:02:00

I found the trick to get mine to eat more veg was to chop it up raw and huge it to them when they are starving just before supper, as an appetiser.

Sometimes on a Saturday night we will watch a film and share some treats, which include a platter of cut up fruit and berries. Lemon juice really lifts this - esp thinly sliced apple.

We have a takeaway maybe once a month or every 6 weeks in the winter. I cook from scratch and plan ahead what to buy as I enjoy it. Try to have a mix of veggie and non veggie meals, and include protein carbs and plenty of veg.

We eat out rarely.

kateandme Fri 04-Mar-16 12:48:14

Stop scrutinizing so much.food shouldn't be monitored but enjoyed,shared loved. Look fr fresh,homecooked wen possible.good meat,veg fat balance.good family homecooked meals.with a bit of conveniance wen u need it.a takeaway as z treat.

KitKat1985 Fri 04-Mar-16 19:05:25

We have a take-away or eat out about once a week, but don't give it to DD yet as she's only 17 months. I do rely on pre-made sauces a lot too when cooking at home.

higge Fri 04-Mar-16 20:02:27

I don't like processed food - never really developed a taste for it growing up. We eat out once or twice a month and have a takeaway once a month.
When we were renovating our house the kids had to eat processed food and takeaways more often than any of us liked - they complained bitterly about the lack of real food - tastes can be trained and that is what I like to do - subtly train their palates to eat good stuff.

expatinscotland Fri 04-Mar-16 20:08:01

We only have takeaways at birthdays, anniversaries, Mother's Day, Father's Day.

We eat out a handful of times a year.

LoveBoursin Fri 04-Mar-16 20:17:39

Very very rarely have any take away and that's normally fish and chips a couple of times in the year.

For the rest we cook. The best I have done is to invest in some cooking books. I wasn't and am not a great chef but I can follow a recipe and it comes out OK (ie I am a cook rather than a chef iyswim).

One of the first one I got with the dc was Annabel Karmel and tbh, I found it quite good to have meals that the dcs would enjoy and we would appreciate as adults.

But I do my utmost to not use 'industrial foods' ie food prepared in a factory. Taste is crap but more importantly its full of chemicals and additives and the quality of the 'ingredients' is low no matter what the label says to make us think it's great (that's also why it's so cheap)

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