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Help! Our evening family meals are too heavy...pies,curry,spag bol, pizza,chips

(13 Posts)
SylvaniansKeepGettingHoovered Sun 14-Dec-14 15:03:47

It sounds awful but our family meal every evening is just far too heavy and rich. We eat a good healthy breakfast, plenty of fruit for the kids, lunch is always soup or a sandwich, and more fruit through the day. But our evening meal is always so rich and hearty, and I can't stop myself serving big portions. DP enjoys shepherd's pie, steak pie & chips, fish & chips, spag bol, chilli and rice, lasagne, curry & rice. I do find it easier to eat lighter meals during the summer months when we have cous cous & salmon, or stir fry, but we don't seem to eat these during the winter. I get lazy and sluggish and I get so very tired of coming up with decent family meals!

Any idea how I can persuade DH on to more balanced lighter meals during the winter, and include more veg? If anyone could list me some 'healthy' family meals that your children enjoy eating with you, I would really appreciate it. I know I'm overweight and I feel sluggish too. And my daughters are getting too used to pizza, chips, and heavy pasta meals.

500Decibels Tue 16-Dec-14 12:37:00

Are the pies and meals home made?
Just add more veg to everything.

Whenever I make anything with mince, I always add fresh and tinned tomatoes, grate carrots and courgettes into it and use less mince. You can add any veg you like.
When you make mash, reduce the potatoes and add other veg like swede or parsnip.
Instead of having chips, make potato wedges in the oven. They really don't take much effort at all and are obviously far more healthier than chips.
You could also try having a bowl of soup as a first course so you all eat less of the main meal.

NewEraNewMindset Tue 16-Dec-14 12:38:45

Grating carrots and courgettes into mince is a great idea.

LadyintheRadiator Tue 16-Dec-14 12:43:48

I would just adapt the meals you like - shepherds pie isn't unhealthy by any means. You could try a different mash topping - celeriac or butternut squash - and serve with lots of different green veg. Pie and chips - again I'd use celeriac or squash to make chips and just not eat the pastry. Bolognaise and chili are fine if cooked without too much oil just go steady on the rice or pasta - the only way I can control my portions is to weigh them otherwise they creep up and up. We make pizzas with pitta bread and I have grilled courgette and aubergine and lots of salad.

kaykayblue Tue 16-Dec-14 16:31:42

It depends how you make those dishes really.

If you are using beef for the cottage pie and lasagne, adding butter to the potatoes on the shepherds pie, and smothering the pizzas in cheese, then it's very heavy.

I'd recommend tweaking the recipes at first. Don't tell anyone and just see if they even notice!

When making the shepherd/cottage pie I'd really recommend using a potato ricer. The potato comes out so soft and lovely that you don't need any butter, or a hell of a lot less anyway.

You could try using Quorn mince instead of beef in the lasagne (just cook it with a little oxo gravy beforehand to absorb the flavour). For pie's, try just having pastry covering the top, rather than encircling the whole pie dish.

For fish and chips, try baked sweet potato wedges instead of potato chips. Have them with a serving of peas, and go for unbattered fish if you can.

Vegetarian chilli is even nicer than meat chilli and has a tiny fractions of the calories.

If you make curry, try using a lot more vegetables to bulk it out, and make your own curry sauce rather than buying the stuff in a jar (unless it's healthy!). It's really easy - you just need to add a bit of flour to the vegetables/meat while cooking, then add some stock, then curry powder, then let it simmer. When it cools down it should thicken, then you can re heat it.

I've always hated spag bol so I can't really advise on that one!

kaykayblue Tue 16-Dec-14 16:32:49

oh and on portions - serve everyones plate, then immediately put any leftovers into tuppleware and into the fridge or freezer. If it's on the table you'll just keeping picking at it even long after you're done!

SylvaniansKeepGettingHoovered Wed 17-Dec-14 21:14:38

Thanks everyone. Yes it's all home made. I like the idea of adding more veg (including corgette) to spag bol.

I use curry paste to make our chicken curries, and I do add spinach but it always seems a little oily and rich. I really need to start weighing out the pasta and rice portions I'm serving. I'm going to try harder to serve a big portion of veg or salad with every meal, it's so hard though when the DC don't eat much veg especially DD2, she can get fussy about such basic things like carrots or peas.

Mutley77 Sat 14-Feb-15 07:48:11

I tend to swap the carbs for veg for myself (my DH has preferences like yours and tbh I think the kids can usually do with the carbs!). I either just make a salad for myself or add some pumpkin mash or roasted veg or stir in spinach. However I do also serve some veg with every meal which the DC are expected to eat (or at least try if they really hate it). In a curry for example there would be veg in it and if the DC don't like it they pull it out.

With the chilli / bolgnaise / lasagne /shepherds pie I got fed up with complaints about added veg (usually carrots, mushrooms, courgette, pumpkin, red pepper or whatever I have handy), so I just puree up the cooked mince and veg then no-one can see what's in it! With chilli I would then add kidney beans after the pureeing. I personally would prefer it to be chunky but there has to be compromise! You can also substitute lentils for some of the mince.

m0therofdragons Sun 15-Feb-15 09:27:15

I've heard halo fryers are fab way of having chips while being healthy. We just have oven wedges with fry light spray. I always put tinned tomatoes in bolognaise but my dad hates the chunks so when he comes I use passata. For curries I use passata as the base too.

Aussiemum78 Sun 15-Feb-15 09:33:32

Curries : add steamed veggies to the side (do you have microwave steamed veggies?) mashed cauliflower instead of rice, half meat and add chickpeas.

Spaghetti : add grated carrot, zucchini, mushrooms to the sauce. Don't add cheeses or garlic bread.

What about soups? Easy to throw into a slow cooker and cook a batch.

Aussiemum78 Sun 15-Feb-15 09:38:10

Is corgette zucchini? Oops. Corgette then...

mousmous Sun 15-Feb-15 09:44:34

it does sound carb and fruit heavy.
can you swap some of the fruit for veg? (carot batons for example)

imagine those 3 part toddler plates. serve carbs and meat/sauce in the small compartment size portions and veg in the large one.

and yes to measuring portions. use scales at the beginning and smaller plates. fill up on veg if not satisfied.

NimpyWWindowmash Sun 15-Feb-15 09:47:28

Use lean mince.

Add more vegetables to the dish (or on your plate).

Make a big salad with the meal (instead of seconds you have a big plate of crunchy leaves and a tangy vinaigrette)

Eat more fish

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