Food & DrinkLiving

Simple tips for family meals

Susan Alsembach


When preparing meals for a family, things can often seem expensive and overwhelming, so here are a few thoughts and ideas to help families make better choices for their health and their wallets. It is important to understand that meals we eat and how we prepare them need to work for each family but the following concepts for a good meal can be adapted to your individual needs. So, I will discuss the various ways in which this can be done, without tearing your hair out!

Frozen vegetables are a great option, as not only do they provide you with a quick and easy source of those much-needed vitamins and nutrients that they provide us with, storage is simple, you use what you need, so less wastage and as a bonus frozen vegetables often come peeled and chopped, so they are easy to prepare and add to a recipe. Cooking some pasta and using frozen vegetables with some grated Parmesan cheese can be a quick and simple mid-week meal, that most families are happy to eat.

Canned foods should be part of your pantry, especially when we are looking at convenience and price. Anytime you find yourself using canned food, it is important to rinse in a colander under running water, until the water below runs clear. This will get rid of the canned fluids, which leave a film on the food if they are not rinsed properly; this will also affect the flavour of the meal itself. Canned legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and navy beans are a great source of protein when combined with grains. So, by simply cooking some whole grain rice and adding a tin of mixed beans you would provide your family with another source of protein, which is a great alternative to meat and cheaper. You can easily add some cherry tomatoes and chopped cucumber with some dried cranberries to make a tasty and filling meal. As canned foods have a long shelf life, they are great to stock up on, and as we saw, they can provide your family with many easy meals, ready in under 20 minutes.

What are we eating tonight? is a question most of us could live without, yet it is also one that can take up a huge amount of our mental space during the day. Not only are we dealing with work/family life, including sports practices, music rehearsals and, general chores, to make matters worse at the end of the working day is that famous question! This can either lead to take-outs, which quickly become expensive, or we end up staring into the fridge looking for inspiration. Getting into the habit of meal planning will reduce that mental stress, give you flexibility during the week when things need to be moved around, and less food and money are wasted. It is about creating a list of meals that your family enjoys, which you can cycle through as needed, so that you don’t feel like you are always eating the same meals. Knowing what you will eat over the next few evenings, removes that mental stress often present during the day, and also allows you to grocery shop accordingly.

If you are looking for further information or help with your lifestyle and nutrition, please contact Chartier Physiotherapy to book a 15-minute free Meet & Greet with Susan, in-house nutritionist.

Email:, or call 613-680-3993.