Many of us have family visiting us during the holidays. While this can lead to some memorable times, it can also lead to frustration as you struggle to prepare healthy meals that everyone will enjoy. Naturally, with so many personalities at the dinner table, trying to concoct crowd-pleasing meals can sometimes seem like the next installment of “Mission: Impossible.” But if you tackle this challenge with the right approach, you can step away having saved the day and looking like a hero (take that Tom Cruise).
A quick Google search will net you a nearly infinite number of healthy recipes to choose from, so I’m not going to cover those in this post. Instead, I want to cover a few tips to help you get started.
Cover all the Bases
Every healthy meal should include the basics: protein, veggies, and carbs. I know that carbs have gotten a bad reputation lately, but good carbs—like those found in baked potatoes, pasta, and whole grains—can fuel your body and give you energy throughout the day. Likewise, protein is essential if you’re managing to get your physical activity and want to build some lean muscle. Rounding everything off with a healthy dose of veggies is a great way to fill the plate and satisfy even the hungriest appetites.
Plan Your Meals
Whether you’re in the gym or in the kitchen, having a plan is always a good idea. Not only does this guarantee that you’ll have the right ingredients handy, but it can also keep you from speed dialing your favorite pizza joint when you’ve had a rough day. Planning out your meals can also save some precious time, especially if you prep foods ahead of time by pre-cutting, thawing, and measuring portions.
Change it Up
They say that variety is the spice of life. I’m not sure who “they” are, but they’re absolutely right, especially when it comes to food. After all, who wants to eat the same thing all the time? Of course, we all have our go-to favorites, but even when preparing similar dishes, it’s important to change things up a bit by using different methods, spices, or side dishes. Besides, if your food choices are too restricted, you might be at risk for certain vitamin deficiencies.
Get Some Help
Getting your family involved in preparing meals can make them more inclined to eat them. Even if it’s not exactly something they’d normally choose to eat, participating in the preparation can pique their interest and curiosity as they wonder how their efforts turned out. The extra help will also speed things along in the kitchen, which is always a nice bonus.
Don’t Forget the Dessert
You’ve heard of the carrot and the stick approach. How about the carrot and the chocolate cake? Rewarding everyone with a tasty (but sensible) dessert is a great way to make sure they clean their plates. Perhaps some peach cobbler, gingerbread, or yogurt would be worth a try. Hit those recipe books and websites, and get creative.
You don’t have to be the next “Top Chef” to prepare healthy meals that the whole family can enjoy. All you need are some amazing recipes and a commitment to roll up the sleeves and get it done. While you definitely have your work cut out for you, by following these tips and some handy recipes, you’ll be on your way to satisfying even the pickiest of eaters.
Michael Nadeau, Founder