Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's for Dinner?

It's the the age old question in every one's home...What's for dinner? I find myself struggling with this quite often. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on how I handle menu planning while I please my family's palate.

First, I have to find something that is kid friendly. Having four children has its challenges to do just about anything and keep them all happy. Dinner is no different. Usually I have at least one child that does not like what is made and ends up having something other than what was originally prepared. I have had the most success in choosing a dish that has a variety of colors and is spin off of a family favorite. To make things healthier I try to sneak in vegetables where I can. Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes, mix pureed butternut squash in with spaghetti sauce or in macaroni and cheese, and use spaghetti squash instead of noodles are just some to name a few. Eating healthy doesn't mean it has to taste bad. Cooking should be about getting creative and having fun. Not about just a daily chore.

Second, I have to think about the fat and cholesterol content in what I am cooking. Having high cholesterol and a predisposition to heart disease, I have to watch what I eat. There is no more fried chicken or big juicy hamburgers cooked in our home. Everything I make is baked, broiled or grilled and I steam or roast vegetables instead of boiling them. I use only olive oil to cook with and avoid cooking with butter. Whole grains have taken the place where white bread, white rice and flour tortillas used to be used. My family doesn't seem to notice the changes and I am giving them the opportunity to have a healthier lifestyle.

And lastly, by teaching my children healthy eating now, it will carry over into adulthood. Hopefully it will prevent them from becoming a victim to obesity and all the other complications that go along with it. By taking small steps to watch what we put into our bodies they create huge rewards. Not only do I feel better, but in the last 6 weeks I have dropped 20 pounds and gone down a full pant size. It can't imagine what I am going to look like a year from now by making these changes.

Below are some of my favorite recipe sites that I love to plan my menu from:
Food Network
Cambell's Kitchen

As always happy cooking! Check back often to see what I have cooked up for dinner...