If you happen to have a family of three and looking for healthy meals for family of 3 then this article is for you. If you want your family members lead a happy and healthy life, then you should be mindful what they eat. Healthy food not only helps in making your body sound but it also improve the quality of life.
PLANNING MEALS FOR A FAMILY
Eating Meals at Home Has Benefits
Many of today’s children and adults are part of a generation that has grown up in restaurants and fast-food eateries. Preparing and eating meals at home is a better choice for many reasons.
- It is usually healthier and tastes better because the cook has control over the ingredients in meals cooked at home.
- It helps to control the amounts of food served, or the portion sizes.
- It allows for more family time. Teens and children can learn to prepare and serve meals.
- It is generally cheaper than eating out.
Meal Planning Saves Time, Money & Stress
Taking the time to plan basic simple meals for the week saves time, money, and stress. In fact, preparing a simple meal at home takes about the same amount of time as driving to a fast-food restaurant or ordering a pizza.
Learning how to plan menus may save more money on your food budget than any other skill, allowing you to buy other necessities with the money saved. Here are some benefits of having a menu plan.
- It saves trips to the grocery store.
- You only buy what you need.
- It relieves the stress of wondering what to cook for dinner at the last minute.
- No time and energy are wasted frantically searching through the pantry for a certain food.
- It provides a better variety of meal choices, and the same foods aren’t served too often.
- There is no waiting while something thaws.
- Leftovers are used up before they spoil.
Steps to Meal Planning
Making a meal plan is easier than most people think. Although it takes a little time upfront, it can save time in the long run. Once you get used to it, making a weekly meal plan will seem easy. All it takes is a few easy steps.
- Make a food budget and determine how often you will shop, preferably no more than once a week.
- Note your family’s schedule, which meals and snacks will be prepared at home or eaten away from home, and how many people will be eating each meal. This allows you to buy the right amount of food.
- Write a list of the foods your family likes to eat and keep it taped inside the kitchen cabinet. When you try a new recipe that everyone likes, add it to the list.
- Make enough menus for about a two-week cycle. Plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, or five to six “mini-meals” per day. Next to each meal, write the ingredients that you need to prepare it.
- Inventory the foods you have on hand and what you need to buy. Know what foods are in the refrigerator and freezer, cupboards, cabinets, and pantry. Plan to use these foods in your menus to save money at the store.
- Keep a grocery list in the kitchen where you can see it. As you run out of staple food items during the week, add them to the list.
- Check grocery store ads for sale items that you can use in your menus.
- Write a weekly meal plan. Start with a simple plan that includes your family’s main meal of the day. When you feel comfortable with that, add in one meal at a time until you work up to a weekly plan. It should include all daily meals plus snacks, even those eaten away from home.
A Simple Meal Plan: Here is an example of a simple meal plan or menu writing system to help you get started.
Sunday: Lunch at Grandmother’s House
Monday: Meatless Monday
Tuesday: Dinner in a Crock-Pot
Wednesday: Soup & Sandwich
Thursday: Pasta Night
Friday: From the Grill
The main dish, which is the base around which the rest of the menu is planned, should provide a serving of protein (e.g., lean meat, some beans, or a low-fat dairy product). Choose side dishes that go well with the main dish and contain plenty of raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (e.g., bread, pasta, rice, or cereal). Serve milk and another hot or cold beverage. A dessert, such as fresh fruit, yogurt, or pudding, is optional.
Include at least one “planned-over” meal per week to use leftover food from another meal.
Recipes: When you serve your family members’ favorite foods, you make meals more enjoyable and avoid waste. Most cooks rely on a core of about 10 favorite recipes for family meals. These should be nutritious, tasty, easy to make, and quick to prepare and cook.
Collect several low-cost, nutritious recipes for main dishes to put in your rotation, and serve them often. Include a variety of lean beef, poultry, and fish and at least one meatless dish. Find recipes for fruits and vegetables that the family likes, even the child who is a picky eater. Assemble the recipes in a recipe file or box, or put them in a loose-leaf notebook.
Are you looking for quick and easy dinner ideas for a family with kids? I’ve rounded up a list of simple meals that are made with just a few cheap ingredients! Everything from ground beef and chicken to carb loaded comfort foods.
I think most kids are notorious picky eaters, which makes it difficult to find family meals that everyone can agree on. My daughter will tell you everything is too spicy, my husband just wants a big plate full of meat, and I usually prefer a little healthy rabbit food like a beet salad. Try putting that all together! It ain’t easy making everyone happy.
Fortunately, I’ve rounded up a few delicious recipes over the years that my entire family agrees on, plus they make for great last minute dinners, especially if you’re a lazy cook like me. These are all perfect for busy moms and dads on a budget! And who isn’t these days?
1. Lazy Lasagna
This is my all time favorite dinner for busy weeknights! It’s made with just 3 ingredients that last for a long time, so as long as you keep them in stock, you’ll always have a kid-friendly dinner ready to be made. It’s vegetarian, but you can add ground beef or sausage to the layers if you’d like, as well as any veggies you happen to have on hand like mushrooms or zucchini to make it healthy.
2. Chicken & Zucchini Casserole
I’ve made this recipe countless times, and it’s always a hit with my kids. I do recommend the “StoveTop” brand of stuffing because it’s packed full of flavor, making any additional seasoning unnecessary. You could also add other soft veggies to the mix if you’d like such as squash, corn or mushrooms.
3. The Best Meatloaf
I’ve never been much of a meatloaf fan, but this recipe is killer! The box of stuffing makes all the difference. Feel free to add anything else to the mix that you’d like such as onion, garlic or cheese.
4. Creamy Chicken Tacos
So easy to make in your slow cooker with just 3 ingredients! The chicken turns out really tender and easy to shred, making it perfect for tacos or burritos. You may want to add in some additional seasoning depending on the brand of salsa you use and your personal preference. Serve with shredded cheese, fresh tomato, avocado, cilantro, jalapeño or anything else you’d like!
5. Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
I love sheet pan meals because they require very little cleanup and dishes with everything just cooking to perfection on a single pan. These chicken fajitas are a great oven meal served with warm flour tortillas, shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream. My picky eaters love them!
6. Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast
The ultimate comfort food, especially during the cold winter months! You will be pleasantly surprised at how tender and flavorful this beef is. Cook it with potatoes and veggies to make it a complete meal, or over a heaping pile of mashed potatoes.
7. Cheeseburger Casserole
If you’re looking for easy ground beef dinner recipes, this hamburger casserole is the ultimate cheese lover’s dream come true! It’s made with just a handful of cheap ingredients, and is just as good leftover for lunch or dinner the next day. Two meals in one!
8. Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Zesty shredded chicken served on toasted buns with a store-bought packet of coleslaw. Yes, please! You can throw this chicken in your crockpot before work and come back to dinner ready to be served. This is one of my daughter’s favorite meals.
9. Cheesy Pesto Baked Chicken
Made with just a handful of ingredients, this is my favorite way to bake chicken! It’s naturally low carb but you can serve it with anything you’d like such as rice or pasta. I like to eat it over a heaping bed of seasoned cauliflower rice.
10. Garlic Toast Pizzas
This is another one of those meals that is a life saver on busy weeknights when you don’t have any dinner plans. Plus, it’s easy enough for the older kids to make themselves! These are wonderful for dinner with a little salad, or even an after school snack for big appetites.
Family Dinner Recipies
Paula Deen’s Goulash
The chef and creative cook Paula Deen is responsible for several American dinner recipes, and one of them is her phenomenal goulash.
This ground beef goulash is similar to the goulash we all grew up eating, but it has so much more flavor.
The ingredients are fairly simple, and you can change it up as much as you want to for customizing the recipe for your family’s tastebuds.
To make it like a more traditional goulash, you can add bell pepper to the meal.
If you add veggies, add them towards the end of the cooking time so that they don’t become soggy.
Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
When you cook family dinner recipes in the slow cooker, it can be a huge lifesaver.
There’s nothing better than entering your home after a tough day at work and smelling dinner that has been cooking all day long.
When considering easy family dinners, this recipe for Dr. Pepper pulled pork is something everyone can enjoy.
The mouthwatering tender meat will melt in your mouth. Just take two forks, shred the pork, and serve it with some rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes.
Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
When you combine two legendary favorites like pizza and Mexican food, you’ve created a dinner the entire family will love.
The best thing about Taco Bell Mexican Pizza is that it’s amazing for lunch or dinner.
The last time we checked, Taco Bell isn’t offering their popular pizza anymore. For now, if you want this addictive pizza, you will have to make it at home.
The beans, crunchy tortilla, tangy sauce, seasoned beef, and loads of cheese are so satisfying and tasty.
Want to go all out? Make some chicken tacos to go with your pizza.
You can also make this so that it’s vegetarian.
Serve this pizza with guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo to make it a full-blown feast.
Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders
Cracker Barrel has cracked the code for how to beat exceptional flavor into the humble chicken tender.
The secret is using salad dressing to marinate the meat for tender chicken.
The salad dressing doesn’t just make your chicken tenders extra juicy. The salad dressing also adds tons of delicious flavor.
Something about the combination of the honey, lime, and Italian salad dressing is simply divine.
Also, you don’t have to marinate this chicken for hours. Just a few minutes does the job.
Then, fire up your grill or air fryer and you’re ready to cook. This chicken recipe is one of the best easy dinner ideas.
Fall Off the Bone Ribs
The secret to baking delicious ribs that will fall off the bones is to bake them slow and low.
In other words, ribs do best when they’re cooked at a low temperature for a long time.
For this recipe, the ribs bake for two to three hours in an oven that’s heated to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Of course, you have to be home to bake these ribs because they’re oven-cooked, but just pour yourself a nice big glass of wine and sit down and read a book.
Then, in a few hours, you will have the perfect dinner for your family.
These ribs are delicious with mashed potatoes or potato salad.