How to create better meals for your family

Health editor Laurie Jennings shows quick ways to sneak more fruits and veggies into the meals your family already loves!

High-fibre meatball recipe
Here’s a way to trick your kids into eating more fibre…hide it in their favourite meatballs! Simply soak 1/3 cup of bulgur in ½ cup of hot water until all of the water is absorbed (approximately 30 mins). Roll the bulgur into your favourite turkey, chicken, pork or beef meatball recipe – it makes them healthier and stretches the meat!

Kid-friendly veggie tomato sauce recipe
Watch as your kids gobble up this tomato sauce that’s full of  “hidden” veggies!

6 to 8 mushrooms, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 oversized handful of spinach
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes with herbs and spices
1½ cups your favourite jarred low-sodium pasta sauce
Dried oregano, basil, hot-chili-flakes and pepper, to taste

1. In a large saucepan sauté mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper, onion and garlic in olive oil.
2. Add diced tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add spinach.
3. When spinach is just wilted, remove the saucepan from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 mins.
4. Transfer mixture to food processor or blender.
5. When it’s blended and no large chunks remain, return the mixture to saucepan and stir in 1½ cups of your favourite pasta sauce (or as much as you want until you reach desired consistency).
6. Season with herbs and spices and simmer for 5 mins. Makes a large batch! Serve on your favourite whole wheat pasta.

Serving tip: Before plating the hot pasta and sauce, put some baby spinach or arugula leaves at the bottom of the serving dish or in each individual plate/bowl. The hot pasta will slightly wilt the greens and will add an extra health boost.

Pumpkin seed-parsley pesto recipe
Introduce your picky-eaters to new herbs and nuts through tasty pesto recipes. You can use any herb, nut or seed when making pesto – just add garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and you’re set. Add to pasta or use as a spread on sandwiches and crackers.

3/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted
1-cup spinach
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 to 2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
Ground pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until well combined. Add more olive oil and/or lemon juice until desired consistency is reached.


Watch: A Simple Way to Roll Meatballs