3 Healthy Family Meals

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We all know it can be a struggle to make healthy family meals on a budget—and ones that everyone will like! Here are three great ideas for four-person dinners the whole family will enjoy.

Simple Lentil Soup

Lentils are cheap, healthy and high in protein. This recipe only calls for celery and carrots, but you can pack as many veggies into this soup as you want—there’s always room!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or 4 cups water with 1 tbsp of salt, if no broth is available)
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Heat the vegetable oil in the bottom of a heavy-bottom pot.
2. Add the onion and carrot and cook until the onion is translucent.
3. Add the garlic, celery, cumin, pepper, salt and bay leaf and sauté another minute.
4. Add the broth, lentils and diced tomatoes, and cook until lentils are soft—about 45 minutes.
5. Remove bay leaf and stir in lemon juice or vinegar.

A plan-ahead tip: if you soak the lentils in water for 4-6 hours before cooking, they will cook much faster!

Pan-Seared Chicken with Cabbage and Apple Slaw

This recipe is a great way to get your daily protein with a fresh, sweet and tangy salad on the side!

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme or 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary or 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • One medium cabbage (red or green), shredded into fine strips
  • 2 apples, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey

Directions:

1. Heat a large pan over medium high heat.
2. Drizzle the chicken breast with 6 tbsp of the oil, and sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the herbs, garlic, salt and pepper.
3. Put chicken in the pan.
4. Turn the chicken over after 6-7 minutes, and then cook the other side for another 6-7 minutes.
5. When you can poke the chicken with a knife and the juices run clear, the chicken is ready!
6. While the chicken rests, mix the shredded cabbage, sliced apples and grated carrots in a bowl.
7. For the dressing, whisk together 2 tbsp of oil with the apple cider vinegar, honey and mustard, and add a dash of salt and pepper.
8. Toss the dressing with the salad, and voila!

Chickpea Burgers

Chickpeas are high in protein and a great source of fiber and essential nutrients. Making them into these delicious burgers is a great way to win kids over! These veggie-full burgers are tasty served with ketchup and mustard in a bun, or in a pita with tahini for Middle Eastern night. Kids love food in pockets!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup carrot, sliced
  • One red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans (14-ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp tomato paste (can substitute ketchup)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme or rosemary
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

1. Add carrots, bell pepper, and garlic to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
2. Add chickpeas, tomato paste, salt, vinegar, mustard, pepper, and spices, and pulse until fine.
3. You may need to scrape down the bowl in between pulses.
4. Add oats and pulse until uniform.
5. Remove food processor bowl and chill in fridge for about half an hour. (The patties will form better if you do!)
6. After half an hour, remove bowl from fridge and make patties from about half a cup of the mixture for each patty.
7. Heat a skillet on medium high heat with 2 tbsp of oil, and cook patties on it for 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown.
8. Flip and cook for another 7 minutes on the other side. Enjoy!

Carrie Murphy is a freelance writer who specializes in health, wellness and women’s issues.

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