7 Insightful Ways To Prepare The Best Family Meal
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Family meals have to be prepared almost every day. This means that when you think of how to prepare the best family meal, you aren’t thinking of one specific meal that will live on in memory forever, but ways to constantly prepare sumptuous meals that will satisfy and appease your family.
There are several considerations to keep in mind when preparing a family meal, and the first is timing. Depending on your schedule, being able to deliver a family meal every day a week can be daunting to look forward to. This is perhaps why the majority of Americans cook between 3 – 5 times a week as shown by data compiled by Statista. Thankfully, there are ways of getting around this, such as batch cooking and asking for help.
Another consideration is the healthy aspect of the meal. Healthy eating contributes significantly to a healthy lifestyle which prolongs your family’s life. Experts also believe that family meals are the best opportunity to instill healthy eating behaviors in your children, serving them well in the long term.
While these are just a few things to keep in mind, there are more. We thought about these considerations and compiled tips for preparing family meals to help you prepare the best meals that are easy on you to make and are beneficial to your family’s health.
Come up with a meal plan
The benefit of a meal plan cannot be understated when it comes to hassle-free family meal preparation. This is because it helps you avoid the stress of coming up with new meal ideas whenever you need to cook.
Meal planning helps in preparing the best family meal because knowing what you are going to cook ahead of time allows you to come up with ideas to make that meal even better before you actually cook it. There is also the benefit of including healthy options because you won’t be rushed and under pressure to make something quickly.
To devise a meal plan, you could set some time aside on a free day, such as the weekends, and then compile dishes for the coming week. However, this method comes with its own stress because thinking of foods to cook for a couple of days at one go can be taxing.
You can avoid that by setting aside 10 minutes or less each day where you add one meal idea to a meal planner and then compiling these ideas on a free day. You don’t have to target meals alone; you can also target nutrients and add meals accordingly.
Meal planning is highly recommended, and the benefits above prove why. If you still aren’t convinced, here are other benefits of meal planning for family meals:
- Allows you to budget better because you will know what you need to buy.
- Less money is spent at the grocery store on ingredients and other food materials that aren’t needed for your planned meals.
- Inspires you to take better note of the food in your fridge and pantry, which can help avoid food wastage.
To help you plan meals better, there are phone apps that make it quite convenient. They even offer suggestions to what are the best dishes for a family meal.
Embrace meal prep
Meal planning and meal prepping go together like peas in a pod. While the former gives you an idea of what you can cook for the family, the latter makes it easier by allowing you to save time on family meal preparation. You also avoid stress by moving most of your cooking time from your busy periods to your free periods.
There are two main ways to go about meal prepping: batch cooking and ingredient prepping.
Batch cooking involves cooking entire meals on your free day and then freezing them for use on different days. You could, for instance, cook larger servings of soups, curries, and stews, which can be added to easier-to-cook meals during the week. Meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables also go well with meal prep.
Ingredient prepping, on the other hand, helps with how to prepare the best family meal by getting the components of your meal ready well ahead of time. For instance, you could chop up vegetables, roast meat, boil eggs, peel potatoes, and parboil rice. You can then freeze these in the freezer and use them when needed.
Not only does this reduce meal preparation times, but it also allows you to plan for more healthy options and ingredients when making a family meal.
Common foods that work well with meal prepping include starches such as potatoes and pumpkins, grains such as oats and rice, proteins like seafood, meat, and eggs, and fruits and vegetables.
To avoid food poisoning, it is best to freeze your food instead of putting it in the fridge. If you opt for the fridge for whatever reason, endeavor to eat the food within three days. And if you freeze your food, remember that the best way to defrost it is by putting it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Open your mind to new ideas
When it comes to how to make the best family meal, you mustn’t limit yourself to the foods you know. Broaden your horizon and try out new foods from different cultures to increase the variety of tastes your family is used to.
The benefits of trying new foods include:
- Exposure to foods that you may like and can become your new favorites.
- Discovering new and healthier ways of cooking.
- Introduces the kids to new cultures and teaches them the importance of open-mindedness.
- Reduces the chances of your children being picky eaters.
You can purchase cookbooks and food magazines to get ideas for new meals for the family. As we are in the digital age, you can also download cooking apps which are especially helpful because they recommend something new every now and then.
There is also the food network which you can watch with your kids to inspire them. Meal preparation videos have exploded on Instagram and TikTok, which presents you with another source of inspiration.
Good ol’ fashioned web searches for things like “top 10 family meals to make” will also give you great ideas to try out.
Take suggestions from the family
Another great source of family meal ideas is from your very own family. This was you’re at least sure that they’ll eat the meal because they suggested it.
You can go about this by setting a timetable for the family where turns will be taken to decide what to eat for the day. You could also give different family members the chance to contribute to the meal by suggesting the various dishes to be served. For instance, your spouse could decide on the main dish, and the children could choose the side dishes.
Children generally avoid healthy food, so you can get around this by giving them a choice from a set of healthy foods, and they’ll pick their favorite. This win-win situation sees them eating something they like, which just happens to be healthy.
Balance family favorites with new recipes
Trying out new dishes is good, but too much of a good thing can be bad. This means that as much as you keep trying out new dishes and broadening the minds of your family, you need to remember that the favorites are the favorites for a reason.
The best way to balance the two would be to alternate between new dishes and the more normal food that the family is used to. You can designate one or two days a week as “new dish days.” In contrast, the other days when home cooking is done will see the family return to their traditional culinary delights.
It’s also possible to mix dishes on the same day. Still, we recommend that the foods be complementary to avoid ruining taste buds.
Ask for help
“I want to prepare the family meal” does not translate to “I should prepare the family meal alone.”
Cooking can be a stressful experience sometimes, but you can reduce the load by cooking with others, i.e., your family. Kids are a great source of help in the kitchen, and why not? After all, they are the ones eating the majority of what you prepare.
If your kids are still too young, they can help with simple things such as washing the veggies and tossing salads. Older kids can help with the chopping and dicing. You never know, your kids might fall in love with cooking and help you all the time.
Experts have noted that preparing food with your kids can encourage them to eat the meals because they are more likely to eat something they helped prepare. Cooking with your kids also presents a bonding opportunity that you can use to empower your kids with cooking skills.
However, if you want the bond to be positive, remember to be patient with your kids in the kitchen. They are kids and aren’t as experienced as you, so there’s no need to yell at them for mistakes. Instead, take it as an opportunity to show them a better way.
Don’t forget to reach out to your spouse for help if you need it. They’re part of the family too.
Invest in appliances that make cooking easier
The right appliances can make all the difference when considering how to prepare the best family meals. They not only shorten the time it takes you to cook – which means you can cook more complicated dishes – they also present a healthier option for the most part.
Air fryers, for instance, allow you to cook food with significantly less fat, and pressure cookers cook foods faster and retain more of the meal’s nutrients than traditional cooking methods. Egg cookers reduce breakfast prep time, and food processors make slicing and dicing safer and faster.
Food technology has come a long way since the 20th century; we should take advantage of that to make the best family meals.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you effectively prepare various family meals?
- Plan ahead by making a weekly meal plan on your free days. You can also take a few moments every day to make a new entry into meal ideas to reduce the hassle of having to think of what to make when it’s time to cook.
- Engage in meal prepping on your free days to reduce the work needed when cooking. This will allow you to make several meals in a short period.
- Ask for help from the family. The division of labor will allow you to make more dishes with less hassle.
- Be on the lookout for new foods and recipes from cookbooks, food magazines, cooking apps, social media, and the internet in general.
What is the most popular family meal?
The title of the most popular family meal varies depending on where you are. For Americans, a strong argument can be made for Rice, chicken, and salad. South Americans have the Tutu de Feijão and Arroz de coco frito.
Africans are diverse, but they have the very famous jollof rice. Europeans have Fish and Chips and the famous Italian pizza.
Asia is pretty diverse, so citing a favorite food might cause a riot, and Australia has Chicken parmigiana. And, of course, we can’t forget the Falafel in the Middle East.
What do normal families eat for dinner?
The foods eaten commonly by a family depend significantly on the location of the family. The rice, chicken, and salad many American families love aren’t the same as the sorghum or cassava meals typically eaten by many African families.
So, to find out the foods a family considers “normal,” you’ll have to look out for the larger cultural nuances.
All in all…
Preparing the best family meal is not about making a single dish that will live on in memory but creating great dishes frequently that are both tasty and healthy for the family.
Doing this requires a little help which is why meal planning and prepping are so important. Also, opening your mind to the various dishes worldwide gives you more options to make a truly great family meal.
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