There is so much healthy-eating advice out there that it can feel a little overwhelming. Here are my favourite and achievable ways to add extras to your family meals using lots of different veg, adding extra fibre and nutrients, batch-cooking and using your fridge and freezer well.  I hope they help get 2022 off to a healthy start, and inspire you to get creative with the extras you have in your kitchen!

  • Sprinkle on chopped or milled nuts and a variety of seeds.  Add them to breakfasts, salads, soups and sauces – a great way to add more nutrients   
  • Spread on or stir in nut butters.  Serve as a dip with fresh fruit or veg, spread on crackers or sandwiches and dollop into puddings
  • Make frozen veggies a regular feature in family meals.  Add a handful to pasta sauces, stir into rice or just serve as a side – a quick and easy way to add another portion of veg
  • Add a handful of plant proteins such as chickpeas, beans, lentils or peas to your main meals.  A quick and easy way to add more fibre and protein
  • Batch cook sauces – prepare lots of sauces and then throw in beans, lentils, veg, and freeze them for another day.  A super-quick and healthy family meal
  • Healthy snacks are a great way to get extra nutrients in – so use snacks to top up food groups that they haven’t had much of that day. For example: peanut butter on crackers or bread/veg sticks and hummus
  • Vary your carbs. It’s easy to get stuck just offering pasta, rice and potatoes but there are so many different carbs to try – polenta, quinoa, giant couscous and barley are all good, new and adventurous alternatives
  • Add a side salad at main meals. It can be helpful to get into a habit of doing this which helps to expose everyone to extra veggies and fruit and can help towards your 5-a-day
  • Offer a few plant-based meals each week – this can help you to get a bit more experimental with your recipes and introduce some new foods, flavours and options
  • Grate veggies into meals such as spaghetti bolognese, chillies and lasagne – this adds extra colour, fibre and makes meals go a lot further
  • Vary the foods you offer, so rather than just pasta look for different types, colours and styles of pasta. Also offer different coloured veggies, such as purple carrots or a pink grapefruit, to continue to show that foods are so different and varied
  • Use a spiralizer to make veggies that you serve fun and help them be easier to eat for younger toddlers
  • Flavour with herbs and spices and get your little ones used to the taste of your own cooking, and the flavours you like to use in your food (try to hold the salt and use the natural flavours of herbs, spices and citrus instead)
  • Think colour – try and always add a few colourful foods to your little one’s plate to brighten up what they’re eating, but also to help them get plenty of variety too
  • Fridge raid – see what needs using up in your fridge and simply add it to the side of your meal. Even if it doesn’t necessarily “go”. This helps to add variety to the meal and also reduces food waste – win win! So, spinach leaves with a little lemon squeezed on top, a dollop of yogurt or some broccoli with a sprinkle of cheese as little extras at mealtimes