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As a health and wellness coach, the most common objection to my services that I hear is, “I don’t want to cook one way for me, and one way for the rest of my family.” I am here to tell you, YOU DON’T HAVE TO. This blog will include, cheap and healthy family meals, healthy meal plans for a week, healthy recipes for busy moms, and most importantly ways to make those “hand me down” family recipes fit right into any meal plan or lifestyle change. Being healthy is about a balance, not giving up the things you love. One of my family recipes that my dad often makes, and his mom would make for special occasions is Cheesy Potatoes. They are oily, greasy, cheesy, and most of all delicious. There are simple modifications that can be made to this recipe to make it healthier while still tasting authentic. Portion size and balancing out extra carbs and greasiness with a ton of vegetables is also a trick that works for me, and of course, drinking tons of water throughout the day is a simple trick to aid in optimal digestion, nutrient absorption, and weight loss. There are so many ways to set yourself up for success when trying to be healthier and I hope that this blog will help to ease some of the anxiety around making lifestyle changes and not disrupting your entire family system.

5 Day Family Meal Plan

“Failing to plan equals planning to fail”, how many times have we heard this? I think we hear this often simply because it is true. Planning meals for just two people is hard for me sometimes. If you have been following along, my partner is a stage 4 throat cancer survivor and what he can eat is totally different from what I can eat. He is also in a weight gain phase, while I am in a weight loss/maintenance phase. I like lots of veggies, while he likes lots of carbohydrates and also needs to have a lot of extra sauce and condiments on his food simply to swallow. So, how do I make food that we both can eat? I start with the same bases and the same sides, adjust our portion sizes and then we can have foods that meet both of our needs but don’t require a ton of extra work. Bulk prepping and meal prepping on the weekends are also extremely helpful in this situation.

Here is an example of a healthy meal plan for a family of 4 that also would fall under healthy family meal plans on a budget because guess what, when you plan, you save money! When making a 5-day meal plan I like to have 1-2 options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that way you can mix things up so folks don’t get bored. The weekend can be more of a time of exploration with food and eating out.

Breakfast Recipes

Egg Cups

The filling on egg cups can easily be modified to your family’s likes and dislikes. You can add meats of choice, vegetables of choice, etc., but the main idea is the same. You could make two batches and you would have 12 egg cups to mix and match throughout the week. Serving size: 2 egg cups

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes shredded
  • 3 tsp. olive oil divided use
  • Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper to taste; optional
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets chopped
  • 12 large eggs
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Lightly coat a twelve-cup muffin tin with spray. Set aside.
  3. Squeeze moisture from sweet potatoes using a clean kitchen towel.
  4. Combine sweet potatoes and 2 tsp. oil. Season with salt and pepper if desired; mix well.
  5. Divide sweet potato mixture evenly between prepared muffin cups; press sweet potato mixture into the bottom and sides of muffin cups. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Set aside.
  6. Heat remaining 1 tsp. oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Add onions and broccoli; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  8. Place eggs in a large bowl; whisk to blend.
  9. Add onion mixture; mix well.
  10. Evenly pour egg mixture into muffin cups. Evenly sprinkle with cheese.
  11. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cups comes out clean.

Sheet Pan Sweet Potato and Egg Hash (from TBB Blog)

Sheet pan recipes are my favorite for making food in bulk to have for the week.

Ingredients:

Healthy Family Breakfast

Healthy Family Breakfast

  • Parchment paper
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt), divided use
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided use
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Line large sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Combine sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, bell pepper, beans, corn, oil, chili powder, cumin, paprika, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper in a large bowl; toss gently to blend.
  4. Place sweet potato mixture on the pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
  5. Create eight wells in sweet potato mixture. Gently crack an egg into each well. Season eggs with remaining ¼ tsp. salt and remaining ¼ tsp. pepper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until eggs are set.
  6. Garnish with cilantro; serve immediately.

Almond Butter Toast

Healthy Toast

Healthy Toast

Another great thing to have on hand is almond butter and whole grain or gluten-free bread, depending on your dietary needs.

You can easily and quickly make toast, add almond butter and then any fruit you have on hand (bananas, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries. The fruit can serve as a natural sweetener or you could add a slight drizzle of honey or agave. I also like to add bee pollen and sometimes hemp hearts to my toast.

Lunch/Dinner Recipes

While I may not have family instant pot recipes, I am a big fan of the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatball Recipe

Turkey Meatball Recipe

This is one of my favorite Team Beachbody recipes that can be mixed and matched with so many things to serve as a healthy side or main dish for your family. You can pair with spaghetti squash, zoodles, gluten-free or whole-grain pasta to make a healthy low carb dinner for your family. The meatballs could also serve as a main dish and you could add a side salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. raw 93% lean ground turkey
  • ½ tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt, divided use
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup whole-grain panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (28-oz.) can of crushed whole tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

Instructions:

  1. Combine turkey, ¼ tsp. salt, pepper, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, and cheese in a large bowl; mix well with clean hands.
  2. Roll mixture into eighteen 1½-inch meatballs. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add half of the meatballs; cook, turning occasionally, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until meatballs are browned on each side. Place browned meatballs in a 3-quart slow cooker.
  5. Repeat with the remaining meatballs. Set aside.
  6. Add onion to the same skillet; cook, over medium-high heat, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  7. Top meatballs with cooked onion, tomatoes, oregano, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt; cook, covered, on low temperature for 5 to 6 hours, stirring once or twice.

Sheet Pan Vegetables 

Do yourself a favor and Google “sheet pan vegetables” click images, and see a plethora of recipes that allow you to bulk prep a ton of vegetables for lunch and or dinner and even some recipes that add in proteins like shrimp and sausage. Here are some stables that I like to sheet pan prep:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Summer Squash
  • Broccoli

Add all vegetables, together, or separate them on the sheet pan. Drizzle with oil, garlic, and seasoning, bake at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven and altitude.

Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese

Remember when I was talking about my dad’s cheesy potatoes? This is not that recipe modified, but it is a healthier version of a family favorite that can be easily incorporated into any family dinner plan… Mac N Cheese! I have made this and some folks don’t even know the difference and sometimes even like it better!

Healthy Mac N Cheese

Healthy Mac N Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. dry whole-wheat macaroni
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1¾ cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
  • 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
  • 2 Tbsp. low-fat (1%) plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley (for garnish; optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Set aside.
  5. Combine squash, broth, and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; gently boil for 22 to 25 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  6. Place squash mixture in a blender or food processor; cover with lid and kitchen towel. Blend until smooth.
  7. Combine squash mixture, macaroni, onion mixture, yogurt, and cheeses. Season with salt and pepper if desired; mix well.
  8. Place macaroni mixture in a 13 x 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish that has been coated with spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling.
  9. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Reference my coaching blog for 40 more quick, easy, and healthy family meals.

Healthy Family Dessert Recipes

Growing up my mom would make me German Chocolate Cake every year for my birthday with coconut pecan icing. Let me just say my mom’s icing was probably healthier than the Betty Crocker container at the store, but still marginally high in sugar. Here is a healthy version that I enjoy now for my birthday! I love this modified version.

German Chocolate Cake

Healthy Chocolate Cake Recipe

Healthy Chocolate Cake Recipe

 Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (or gluten-free) (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (180g) full fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water or coffee*

Coconut-Pecan Filling:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  •  3 large egg yolks
  • 1 can (8 ounces; 240ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup (125g) chopped pecans

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease three 9×2 inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. *Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans.
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder (if using) together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or you can use a whisk) mix the oil, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the hot water or coffee, and whisk or beat it all until the batter is completely combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly between 3 pans. Bake for 21-25 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Remove the cakes from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan.
  5. As the cakes cool, prepare the coconut pecan filling so it can cool and be ready at the same time. Combine butter, brown sugar, egg yolks, and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk occasionally as the mixture comes to a low boil. Once boiling, whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, toasted pecans, and coconut. Allow mixture to cool completely before layering inside the cake. It will thicken even more as it cools.
  6. Assemble and frost: First, level the cakes if needed: using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with 1/2 of the coconut pecan filling (half is about 1 and 1/4 cups). Top with 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with remaining coconut pecan filling. Top with the third cake layer. Spread the chocolate buttercream into a thick layer on top. Garnish with extra toasted pecans and coconut, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before slicing or else the cake may gently fall apart as you cut.
  7. Cover leftover cake tightly and store it in the refrigerator for 5 days.

If you feel like you are wanting more recipes, tips, and tricks to living your healthiest life, I have lots more tips where those came from. All of my meal plans include access to hundreds of recipes and short, easy, all levels workouts. If you have any specific recipes you would like or fitness program questions, always feel free to reach out to me. Thanks for reading I hope this information was useful and finds you in a space of the heart. I’m just me Sarah Roberts (Savino), MSW, RYT200, TBB Coach founder of team Indie Sols, figuring out what works for me and sharing it with you in hopes that it will make some positive changes for you as well! As always if you have any direct questions or want personal consultation for anything you can reach me at my email thefitphilanthropist@gmail.com or contact me through any of my social media: Facebook.com/sarah.savinoIG- the_fit_philanthropist

Love and Light Always,

Sarah