Quick and Easy Family Meal Ideas for Busy Parents

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

June 17, 2021

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Between school collections, activities, work and all the jobs that come with running a home, quick and healthy dinners are always in hot demand! We’ve created fresh family meal ideas for busy parents that will help ensure the whole family is well on their way to getting their 5-a-day.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Get Planning

Start by planning your meals for the week. Trust me on this one, it makes a world of difference!

Taking 30 minutes to sit down and plan before you go to the supermarket will save you far more throughout the week, and will help you avoid the dreaded ‘what’s for dinner?’ question that rears its head around 4pm every day.

Not only that, but it will make sure you have exactly what you need, allow you to plan for both new and favourite family meal ideas, and help prevent against waste when unused food needs to be discarded. You can download our free weekly meal planner here to help you get started.

Eat the Rainbow

rainbow vegetables (1)

Make it interesting – both to cook and to eat. Aim to mix up some different coloured fruit and vegetables during the day.

Each colour provides us with different benefits – for example, blue and purple foods (e.g. red cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, beetroot) are high in anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant. Meanwhile, orange and yellow fruit and vegetables (e.g. carrots, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato) are high in carotenoids, which convert to vitamin A.

Make a List

…and bring it with you. Once you have made your meal plan, make a list of ingredients you need and take it with you when you go to the supermarket.

Meal Prep

Set aside an hour to meal prep for the coming days. Chop fruit and vegetables and store in the fridge so they are ready to grab for lunchboxes, salads or dinner. Believe me, having your vegetables chopped and ready to go is a game-changer when it comes to dinner time!

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Quick Family Meal Ideas to Try

Each of the recipes below is designed to be as adaptable as possible. When it comes to quick family meal ideas, being able to switch things up is important. So, use whatever vegetables you have to hand, and create a new meal each time!

The variety will ensure you have no ‘boring’ dinners, and you can rest assured that you are creating a healthy, home-cooked meal with as little stress as possible.

Easy Vegetable Stir Fry

vegetable stir fry (1)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Olive or rapeseed oil
  • 1 bunch of spring onions, chopped (reserve the greens for later)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 carrots, thinly chopped
  • 1 courgette, thinly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 80g baby corn or mange tout
  • 3 tbsp plum sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-3 tsp sesame oil
  • 300g egg noodles

Method:

  1. In a large pan or wok, heat some oil. Sauté the garlic, ginger and chilli (if using), then add in the whites of the spring onions and the rest of the vegetables.
  2. Leave them to soften for just a few minutes, then add in the plum sauce, honey and soy sauce.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Drain the noodles and add to the wok with the greens of the spring onions.
  4. Toss to coat everything in the sauce, adding a little more soy sauce if needed. Drizzle with sesame oil just before serving.

Top Tips:

  • Alternate sauces like teriyaki or honey-ginger instead of plum sauce.
  • Try rice instead of noodles.

Pesto Chicken and Vegetable Traybake

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tbsp pesto
  • 8-10 chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 12-16 new potatoes, halved if large
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 200g green beans, mange tout or broccoli
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
  2. Toss the chicken pieces in the pesto and arrange skin side up on a large baking tray.
  3. Tumble in the new potatoes, drizzle with the olive oil and season well and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the tray from the oven and add the cherry tomatoes and green beans/broccoli. Toss together and cook for a further 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Serve with a side salad.

Top Tips:

  • Change up the flavours of the traybake by tossing the chicken in harissa instead of pesto.
  • Add a handful of spinach for the final minutes to wilt.
  • Switch sweet potato wedges for the new potatoes.

Chicken and Vegetable Fajitas

Vegetable Fajitas (1)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • 3-4 chicken breasts, chopped (or pork/beef/prawns)
  • 2-3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • Baby corn
  • 6-8 soft tortilla wraps
  • Toppings: sour cream, grated cheese, jalapenos, sliced avocado or guacamole, salsa, fresh coriander, etc

Method:

  1. Heat some oil in the pan over a medium heat and sauté the onion until softened. Add the garlic and chilli (if using) for a further minute, then add in the chicken.
  2. Season the chicken and add the spices, stir well.
  3. Once the chicken has browned, add the pepper strips and leave to cook for a further 5-8 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, get all your toppings ready for serving. Let everyone serve themselves, layering the chicken and toppings in the tortilla wraps, then wrap tightly and enjoy!

Top Tips:

  • Cut your vegetables (and meat, if using) into strips rather than chunks, as it will make assembling your fajitas easier.
  • Create a spread of possible toppings and have everyone make their own.
  • Use leftovers for quesadillas the next day.

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Published On: June 17th, 2021 / Categories: Food and Recipes / Last Updated: July 17th, 2021 / Tags: , , /

About the Author: Emily Manning

Emily is the coffee-loving Editor of MyKidsTime. Mum of one daughter and two naughty Tibetan Terriers, she is particularly partial to Curly Wurlys and unable to resist pretty stationery and new cookbooks. As an avid foodie and domestic goddess-wannabe, she is most likely to be found in the kitchen.

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