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Easy Ways to Make Your Family Meals More Nutritious  

How to make family meals more nutritious

Eating together as a family is one of life’s great joys, and it can be a powerful way to build strong relationships. But let’s face it: amid the hustle and bustle of our lives, preparing nutritious meals while also making them enjoyable can be easier said than done. In this blog post, we’ll share strategies to help you make your family meals more nutritionally balanced – all while keeping everyone happy. From creative ideas for picky eaters to techniques for dialing up the taste of healthy dishes, you’ll learn which steps and ingredients you should take for more nutritious meals that hit the spot when the clock strikes “dinner time.”  

Why are nutritious meals important for families?  

Eating nutritious meals as a family has numerous advantages. The most notable are increased energy, improved concentration and focus, overall well-being, better digestive health, more resilience to illness and infection, and a healthier lifestyle. Eating nutritious foods gives the body the vitamins and minerals needed for daily tasks such as schoolwork, exercise, or physical labor. Healthy meals help you and your family feel more awake, alert, and capable of completing tasks and activities efficiently. Furthermore, nutrient-rich foods supply your body with immunity-enhancing nutrients that seek to reduce your susceptibility to illnesses while facilitating quicker recoveries should you become ill. On top of this, proper nutrition contributes towards a more balanced lifestyle; as parents, you feel better mentally and emotionally when you can provide your family with quality ingredients from all the food groups that work to support your physical body. Focusing on eating healthy meals as a family is beneficial immediately and eventually since everyone will benefit from being nourished along the way.

Simple ways to increase nutrition in family meals

Eating meals together as a family is an integral part of maintaining good nutrition. There are many ways to increase the healthfulness of your family’s meals — from packing various nutritious foods to experimenting with new and healthy recipes. Getting creative in the kitchen can be both enjoyable and nourishing, leaving each family member feeling physically and emotionally satisfied. To increase nutrition in family meals, you must: 

Add more fruits and vegetables to every meal

It can be challenging to ensure your family gets all the essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for good health. Therefore, adding more fruits and vegetables to every meal is necessary for shaping a healthy diet. Not only are these foods sources of powerhouse nutrients, but they can also satisfy hunger with fewer calories. By taking simple steps such as making sure there’s at least one fruit or vegetable on every plate and swapping processed snacks for fresh produce when possible, you can ensure that your family meals are full of vital nutrition. 

Eat mindfully on smaller plates

When it comes to making family meals more nutritious, often, the simplest change can have a profound influence. Eating mindfully on smaller plates is a strategy that you must consider. It is well-established that the size of portions impacts how much we consume; in essence, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. By opting for a smaller plate, each family member at the table has a more appropriate portion size and will have an easier time discerning when they have had enough. Furthermore, finding creative ways to serve larger portions, such as salad or roasted vegetables, will help you get your fill of healthy food first, keeping from overeating starchy carbohydrates later in the meal. 

Add wholesome grains

Adding grains like quinoa or buckwheat is one easy way to make family meals more nutritious. These wholesome, nutrient-packed grains are easy to prepare and provide a delicious, filling base for every meal. Quinoa is often referred to as a ‘superfood’ as it’s full of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that benefit your health. Buckwheat, meanwhile, has several components with antioxidant properties – making it an excellent choice for improving gut health on top of adding texture and flavor to dishes. Getting creative when incorporating these grains into main dishes can be fun for the whole family and help ensure your family gets the nutrition they need for healthy growth and development. 

Cut down on processed foods

Cooking meals at home using healthier ingredients are essential to ensure your family is eating more nutritious dishes. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up processed foods’ convenience completely. Reducing the amount of processed food you eat in favor of fresh and wholesome ingredients can ensure healthier eating habits. To do so: 

  • Pay more attention when grocery shopping. 
  • Prioritize whole foods over convenience items. 
  • Get creative with new recipes and recipes from home. 

Use healthy sauces and condiments

If you want to make family meals more beneficial and nutritious, you can start with sauces and condiments. Healthy alternatives, like vinegar-based dressings, salsa, hummus, and pesto, can add flavor while eliminating saturated fats. Additionally, they offer a variety of vitamins, minerals, and healthy plant compounds that our bodies need. Use these items spiced up with herbs and spices to give an extra boost of nutrition without sacrificing taste. Plus, this simple switch allows you to expand your palette, introducing potentially new flavors for everyone in the family to enjoy. 

Double up on plant-based proteins

If you are looking for simple ways to make your dinners more nutritious, one of the best starts is by doubling up on plant-based proteins. Plant-based proteins contain vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that give us lasting energy and can help boost our immune systems – all important when trying to stay healthy. Adding items such as lentils, quinoa, or chickpeas to your family’s favorite meal will increase the nutrient content and add flavor and texture. Not only that, but plant-based proteins can easily become the star of the show by swapping out meats, as they can help reduce saturated fat intake while still enjoying a delicious meal. So fight those sniffles with some plants and ensure your meals contain nutritious proteins.  

Snack on nuts instead of sweet snacks between meals

Snacking between meals can be an excellent opportunity to make family dinners more nutritious. Instead of consuming sugary snacks to satisfy cravings, why not try snacking on nuts instead? Nuts are a significant source of protein and healthy fats and provide essential minerals such as potassium and zinc. The best part is that they are also incredibly convenient – they come in individual packaging and don’t require any prep. Plus, depending on the type of nut you choose, there is often a wide range of delicious flavors like garlic and chili, which can satisfy your taste buds. So why not replace those poor nutrition options with nutty goodness to make family meals healthier?  

Include fermented foods as side dishes

Incorporating fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, into family meals can be an excellent way to boost nutrition. Not only are these dishes packed with flavor and texture, but they also contain beneficial bacteria that support the digestive system. Many studies suggest that regular consumption of fermented foods can provide additional health benefits such as oxidative stress reduction and improved immunity. With such wide varieties, it’s easy to include them in any meal. Add a small scoop of your favorite fermented food to your other side dishes for balanced nutrition you and your family will enjoy.  

Avoid deep-frying or pan-frying

When preparing family meals, you may look to make them more nutritious. To accomplish this goal, avoiding cooking techniques that require deep-frying or pan-frying with butter and oil is a great start. Instead, try boiling, steaming, grilling, or baking in the oven. These alternative options use less fat and, therefore, lower calorie content while maintaining the flavor of the prepared foods. Also, adding extra herbs and spices can provide flavor without using butter or oil. Making smart substitutions when it comes to cooking at home can positively impact the healthiness and tastiness of family meals.  

Be generous with herbs and spices

When it comes to making family meals more nutritious and flavorful, adding generous amounts of herbs and spices is a winning combination. Herbs and spices are incredibly low in calories but pack an intense flavor punch. By replacing difficult-to-make sauces full of butter or cream with herbs and spices, meals made with lean proteins like grilled chicken breasts or steamed shrimp become instant diet favorites. With just a sprinkle of oregano for Mediterranean flavors or a dash of chili powder for Mexican flare, you can customize your meals while focusing on wholesome ingredients. Enjoying the same meal while being generous with herbs and spices helps make family meals healthy and delicious – without all the guilt.  

All these simple steps can help your family enjoy tasty yet healthier meals together for years to come.  


By taking the necessary steps to prepare for your grocery trip and creating a plan for weekly meals, you can ensure that healthy ingredients make up most of what you’re eating. Additionally, introducing creative ways to encourage your family to eat more vegetables can also turn an ordinary meal into something with more nutrition. Following these simple yet efficient tips may add up over time and result in lifelong benefits for you and your family. 

Author Profile

George Zappas

Executive Chef

George Zappas, CookinGenie's Executive Chef, is a passionate culinary professional with 15+ years of experience. George calls Cincinnati home and is dedicated to creating unforgettable dining experiences, mentoring chefs, and inspiring food exploration.

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