Dinner with young children can be wonderful family quality time – as long as they’re not complaining about the food. Successful family meals do not have to be pizza night only. Healthy family meals, made from scratch, can be easy to make and a hit with your children. I’ve found that there are two main factors that make a dinner successful:
1. The kids need to be hungry, so feed them a healthy dinner 2 to 3 hours after their last snack or meal.
2. The kids must love the food.
When I cook I use only natural ingredients such as poultry, fish, vegetables and grains. I try to avoid buying ready-made processed food. If you don’t have the time every night to make a meal from scratch, you can double the quantities when you do have time to cook and then freeze the extra, so you need only heat it up when you’re pressed for time.
I typically cook with just a few ingredients for two reasons. First, I’ve learned that the simpler the food is, the more the kids will love it. Second, fewer ingredients makes the dish quicker and easier for me to prepare. After some experience with feeding little ones, I’ve found a few healthy recipes that make dinnertime a lovely, enjoyable time for the whole family! This meal is one of my kids’ favorites and my husband and I love it, too.
You can see how it’s made in this demo video. I doubled the quantities so I’d have another meal ready for when I don’t have time to cook.
This easy recipe takes about an hour, and works great with rice or pasta. As a mom who makes an effort to cook healthy meals for my family, there is no better pleasure than seeing my kids eating my food and loving it.
For the meatballs
1 pound of ground turkey
1 grated onion
1 grated zucchini
2-3 cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon of turmeric
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons of chopped parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons of flour or breadcrumbs
For the sauce:
1 chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 big chopped tomato
1 small can of tomato paste
2/3 cup of water
½ teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl, mix well and let sit for 20 minutes. You can make this a day or a few hours in advance and leave in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
To make the sauce, fry the onion in a wide pot with a little vegetable oil for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.
Shape meatballs with your hands.
Place them in the pot with the sauce. To make sure that the sauce covers all the meatballs, you can gently shake the pot to spread the sauce evenly. Cook on low heat for an hour.
Serve over rice or pasta.