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Family Meals

Information and advice on feeding your family and Family friendly meals


Jump to:-  General Advice  |  Which Foods?  |  Kids have Taste Buds Too ! | Why Chicken Nuggets ?

 New!   Video Recipes for Toddlers by Chef Lesley Waters


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See Also:-    Family Recipes  | Lunch Box Ideas  |   General Guide to Nutrition  |  5-A-Day Portion Sizes | Food & Health


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Parenting Club

Cooking for a family with different aged kids can be difficult, especially when trying to think up new recipe  ideas  which  are not only  tasty and interesting  for everyone,   but which also provide the necessary nutrients for growing children and working adults.


We've has put together a whole page featuring some of the hundreds of recipes on this site which are family friendly and suitable for everyday family meals. They have been hand picked by the editor for their ease of preparation and to provide a wide range of nutritional requirements, flavours and ingredients which will hopefully give you ideas which enable you to create your own dishes based on your family's preferences.


General advice on cooking for your family


If you have children who are picky eaters, there are a couple of things you might wish to try to alleviate the problem.


Eating as a family

As with most adults, most children prefer not to eat alone. Eating with others turns the whole experience into a more sociable pastime which, if handled correctly, gives children a sense of belonging and shared enjoyment.


Although work commitments or other time restraints may make it impossible for the whole family to eat together every single day, it's worth making the effort to do so a few times a week.  Also, eating the same food as their parents has the added psychological effect of making the whole eating experience a natural event rather than a lonely chore,  especially with younger children. 


Types of Food

Just because they are children, it doesn't mean they can't appreciate a varied diet consisting of a wide variety of meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and fruit.  Furthermore, in order to get a well balanced diet which provides the myriad of nutrients a growing child needs, it's imperative to give children as many different foods throughout the week as they will eat. 


In particular, vary the colours of vegetables and fruit you give kids as each colour group contains different nutrients, so don't just go for green but also for yellow .... red .... purple .... orange....


For a more in-depth analysis of the types of nutrients, amounts required and foods in which they are found visit our Nutrition page.


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Seasoning Your Food

Once again, just because they are children, it doesn't mean they don't have taste buds!  If you serve up bland tasting food, they are more likely to push it around the plate rather than gobble it up. Even when you're hungry, eating a plate of plain pasta doesn't give much pleasure after the initial relief that you've got some food, but add a well flavoured meat sauce and it's gone before you know it.


Having said that, a word of warning. Don't suddenly start using large quantities of seasonings such as garlic, chilli and other powerful spices when cooking for children. Gradually introduce seasonings in smaller quantities but start early.  The introduction of herbs is a good place to start and most are suitable even for young children.


Make family meals interesting

Why do so many children like chicken nuggets ? Well, apart from the taste, it's a food which gets them involved in a more unusual way. Whilst we aren't advocating ditching your cutlery, there are other types of food which seem to engage youngsters and which, if you cook them yourself with fresh ingredients, are just as nutritious as the grandest roast dinner. In particular, younger children like to have "their own" easy to eat portions. Here are a few examples:-


Home made burgers

Home made shish kebabs

Home made tacos

Home made meatballs

Home made fish "fingers"

Individual stuffed vegetables


Toddler Recipe Videos

Between the ages of one and three years it can be difficult to get kids to eat the right foods particularly as some toddlers can be fussy eaters. Help is here with Celebrity Chef and mother Lesley Waters, along with SMA nutritionist Anne Sidnell who have designed 6 easy meals to satisfy your totís taste buds, and give them a good dose of the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Check back regularly for the latest video update.

Lesley Waters

12th July  2010

Pink Fish Macaroni

Lesley Waters

25th July  2010

Sweet Potato Broth

Lesley Waters

6th August  2010

Broccoli & Cheese Risotto

Lesley Waters

24th August  2010

Savoury Bread & Butter pudding



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