5 ways to make the most of at-home meals

Article 3 min

Many hands can make meal preparation easier and tackle boredom at the same time. But how do we do that while also keeping an eye on making and serving meals that support health? It all comes down to planning and creativity!

By DFC - PLC, Nutrition Team
Family cooking at home together.

Highlights

  • Making and planning meals together can double as bonding time.
  • Having nutritious meal and snack components on-hand—from whole-grains to protein-packed cheese—making it easy to assemble flavourful meals and to grab quick snacks that will support your health
  • Use social media to find tasty restaurant-quality meals as inspiration

1. Make meal planning and preparation a bonding activity

Especially now, keeping our sanity and boosting our mood is extra important for health. Bonding with those in our household around meal preparation can help. Call in your household members, even kids, to take on tasks and provide ideas to share the load.For an enjoyable experience, have music or a podcast play in the background (that is, if you’re able to agree on what to listen to) while you meal plan and cook. If fun in on the menu, consider including baking a tasty treat as part of your plans. You can pair cookies or other baked goods with a dish of yogurt or a cold glass of milk to bump up the nutrition quotient.

2. Stoke your creativity and make restaurant favourites at home

Cooking at home doesn’t have to be boring.  You can find ways to incorporate all your favourite foods in your menus, even restaurant favourites.Love lasagna? There’s a recipe for that. Crazy for poke? Making it at home is simpler than you think. And with meals like poke, you can have it twice in the same week by switching out the protein and the sauce for a completely different flavour. Key ingredients can be used for multiple dishes, for example, cheese can go in a burrito bowl and also on toast. You don’t need to eat the same thing all week. Batch cook your favourites and adjust them slightly with different toppings, sauces and sides to keep things interesting.

3. Keep wholesome staples on hand for quick meals that nourish

Simplify your life by having meal components on hand in the fridge, the freezer and the pantry. In the fridge, staples like milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese, washed and chopped up leafy greens or veggies etc. can be used for many recipes. In the freezer, keeping cooked quinoa, pitas, cooked rice,along with proportioned meat and poultry etc. can save a lot of time. And in the pantry you should have items such as pasta, jarred pasta sauce, canned chickpeas, beans and tuna and rice along with bottled sauces, dressing, oils and your favourite condiments. If you take out cooked quinoa from the freezer and add in some Feta cheese, chopped up kale, veggies, canned chickpeas and drizzle with a lemon dressing, you’ll have a hearty cold salad in no time. Or you can also use canned tuna for delicious, cheesy tuna pita melts—a huge hit at any table! 

4. Keep snack boredom at bay with satisfying, healthful options 

Have containers of washed and pre-cut fruit and vegetables in the fridge for quick options that will support your health. Dips with a yogurt or hummus base can keep hunger at bay. A handful of nuts or cheese and crackers are also quick options. Or whip up a smoothie with milk, frozen berries and yogurt.

5. Get creative with protein

A satisfying, balanced meal is never complete without protein. Along with whole-grains, fruits and veggies, protein is incredibly important for your health. Incorporate a variety of lean meats, poultry, beans, cheese, tofu, yogurt, milk, eggs, nut butters and fish into your meals and snacks, to provide a variety of essential nutrients.