baby feeding

Make balanced menus for the whole family

Make balanced menus for the whole family

The expert : Camille Petit, dietitian-nutritionist, founder of Fourchette & Nutrition and Qare expert (medical teleconsultations)

It’s not easy to respect the food balance in the rhythm parents-work-young children, nor to find menus which stimulate the taste curiosity of the whole family. With a bit of imagination and a lot of anticipation, we can create varied menus and make shopping lists adapted to our needs and desires. And, don’t panic, when you make a difference on a meal or a day, you can always catch up on all the menus of the week and take the opportunity to get into the sport.

A balanced meal ? Manual

A balanced meal must meet everyone’s needs, according to their age, but also their physiology and level of activity. ” More specificly, a balanced plate is divided into 4 partsexplains dietitian-nutritionist Camille Petit:

At the same time, it is important to limit your consumption of sugary products and to stay well hydrated, at the rate of 1.5 to 2 L of water per day (for an adult), to drink in small sips throughout the daytime. From breakfast to dinner, including snacks for children, each meal has its role to play in the food balance of the week.

A balanced dish for his family

“In the composition of a dish, know that a cereal product will provide energy that will be released throughout the day and fiber. Vegetables and fruits are a superb source of vitamins and minerals. We will also think about protein intake, which provides energy and plays an essential role for our good physiological functioning, and fat with good fats”, recommends Camille Petit. You can also add, if desired, a dairy product, rich in protein and calcium.

In terms of proportions and textures, these obviously adapt to the age of toddlers and their chewing abilities, but you can create an adult menu in a child’s version by mixing vegetables and fruit into purees and compotes, for example. .

Example of a balanced menu

The menus for the family can be limited to the preparation of a dish and a dessert only. Exit the starter, the daily intake of nutrients will be well provided if there is diversity on the plate. This makes it possible not to spend too much time at the table, and therefore to avoid extended meals for the children (especially in the evening), and above all, to simplify your life.

Sample adult-child menu :

– Zucchini and bulgur gratin + grilled chicken fillet (to mix for babies)
– A slice of wholemeal bread and a piece of hard Comté or Beaufort cheese
– A salad of peaches and raspberries (to be mixed into a cooked compote for babies)

How to make balanced menus for the week?

Lacking inspiration for meals? To establish a balanced menu grid for the week, you can draw inspiration from the season, with fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic and purchased locally. You can also take inventory of your cupboard funds and go to the organic store to restock cereals of all varieties (spelt, buckwheat, quinoa, etc.). Then we peel, we cut, we cook all at once, and we freeze portions that we will only have to assemble at the last moment.

My menu for each day of the week: easy and quick!

Once the menu grid has been established, all that’s left is the shopping list, and it’s time for delivery! “You can then start the batch cooking, an Anglo-Saxon method which consists of cooking in batches, on Sunday for example, the main elements of your meals which you will then assemble on D-Day in 15 minutes flat. I advise you to bet only on 4 to 5 meals in advance, in order to maintain flexibility in your menus and to avoid food waste”, recommends Camille Petit.

Summary of batch cooking :

– Cut up vegetables, pre-cook food
– Store them in the freezer or fridge
– Reheat them and assemble them at the last moment to save time by adding fresh herbs or a small sauce.

What menus to plan for the week?

Compose your menus according to the schedule of each member of the family. If, for example, Wednesday is a sports day, we will provide larger quantities of starchy foods and appropriate snacks. If, in the evening, you have a light dinner, go ahead with soups to decorate with cereals or pasta, and cakes such as a yogurt cake or a cake, which keep well all week.

Menu ideas for 2 days of the week

– Hot beverage
– Plain yogurt and homemade granola
– 1/2 grapefruit

– Carrot flan and green salad
– Homemade breaded fish
– Chocolate mousse with 70% cocoa

– Wholemeal pasta salad (tuna, tomatoes, corn, diced cheese, fresh herbs…)
– Pineapple carpaccio and biscuits

The weekly menu plan

– Hot beverage
– Slice of ham and emmental cheese
– Whole wheat bread
– Red fruits

– Toast of rye bread, avocado, soft-boiled egg and lamb’s lettuce
-Green beans
– Milk rice

– Homemade bruschetta and gazpacho
– Petits-suisses with seasonal fruits and a drizzle of honey

Easy recipes for the family

To make your life easier, you can also use ready-to-use frozen fruits and vegetables. “We then choose raw, unprocessed ingredients. Frozen fruits and vegetables have lost very little vitamins and minerals during freezing. They can therefore be used without fear. On the other hand, more waterlogged than fresh vegetables, they are less tasty than vegetables from the market, but they can help you prepare a puree without delay while eating in a healthy way”, emphasizes Camille Petit.

What are we eating this week?

It’s not easy to find inspiration for an entire week! One method: the reuse of leftovers. When cooking rice, for example, think big and save the excess to reuse in a recipe for the next day. This will save you valuable time! Example: with a rest of white rice, intended to accompany a fish in sauce, we improvise the next day a Cantonese rice. “If you happen to give in to the temptation of ready-to-eat meals, don’t panic. These can help you out, but remember that their consumption must remain occasional. Indeed, they are very salty and contain poor quality fats”, warns Camille Petit. Similarly, we limit meat consumption, we vary with fish and eggs for animal protein intake. As for ultra-processed foods, cordon bleu and other industrial pizzas, they must remain exceptional.

What balanced meal for tonight?

To feel full, treat yourself and digest well before going to bed, focus on targeted foods. Avoid dishes that are too spicy or too salty, eating fat and too much. A bad combo for dinner? The combination of pasta with grated cheese and ground beef, for example, is not easy to digest and can therefore affect your sleep. Prefer raw ingredients;

– potatoes served with a garden of vegetables and a nice slice of ham on the bone
– a homemade croque-monsieur and vegetable soup
– vegetarian lasagna and a green salad.

Evening menu: keep it simple on weekdays

“By its composition, the evening dinner can be close to lunch! However, be sure to plan your dinner 2 hours before bedtime. For the evening meal, you can reuse leftovers from lunch or put your talents as a seasoned batch cooker into practice. You can also opt for dishes that are very quick to prepare and which will delight the whole family: mashed potatoes and a boiled egg with its breadcrumbs or ham shells. Success guaranteed!

To your cookbooks and mobile applications! As soon as we like a recipe, we copy it, we keep it preciously. Some culinary sites suggest menu combinations based on the ingredients you have left in your cupboards or in your refrigerator.

Also take advantage of the holidays, if you go abroad, to stock up on exotic recipes to reinterpret with local ingredients. Or: you can order Ebook of healthy menus online from a nutrition professional.

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