Registered Dietitian Sara Nychypor stopped by My West Michigan with healthy family meal ideas.

Key Ideas:

  • Eating together as a family encourages good eating habits, and healthy body weight in children and adolescents.
  • Research shows that having regular family meals reduces the risk of eating disorders, helps kids get better grades in school, and lowers the rates of drug and alcohol use.
  • Ellen Satter's division of responsibility advocates that parents provide meals for children, by choosing what, when, and where the meal is served; and children are responsible for how much and whether they choose to eat certain foods.
  • Involve kids in the cooking process from menu planning, to food prep and cleanup. This will help children be more invested in the meal and more willing to try new foods.
  • Set expectations for table manners



Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

1 cup cooked quinoa 

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lime, cut in quarters
  • 1 T olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can low sodium corn, drained
  • 1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Optional: 1 lb browned ground turkey or lean beef

  • Add quinoa into 2 cups of water and the juice of half of the lime, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy and transparent in appearance.
  • Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, add in peppers.
  • In large bowl, mix together vegetables, corn, black beans, salsa and 1 cup cheese.
  • Turn mixture into baking dish, top with additional cheese.
    Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  • Serve with whole grain tortilla chips.

Zesty Salmon Cakes

2 (5oz) cans boneless, skinless pink salmon, drained and flaked

  • ¼ cup plus 4-5 T dried whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise (I use avocado mayo or olive oil mayo)
  • 1 large egg, beaten                  
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 T chopped fresh chives      
  • 1 T chopped fresh dill
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Zest of half lemon                     

  • Mix together salmon, ¼ cup bread crumbs, cheese, bell pepper, mayo, egg, mustard, chives, dill, and zest in large bowl.
  • Arrange the remaining bread crumbs on a plate.
  • Shape the salmon mixture into eight patties (about ¼ cup each) and coat both sides of patty with bread crumbs.
  • Heat oil in nonstick skillet on medium heat. Cook patties until both sides are golden brown.


Chinese Pork Dumplings

Dipping sauce: 

  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T finely chopped chives
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp chile garlic sauce

  • Filling: 
  • 50 wonton dumpling wrappers
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 T chopped chives
  • 2 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T minced fresh ginger

  • Mix sauce ingredients, set aside.
  • Mix pork, garlic, egg, chives, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger in large bowl. Place dumpling wrappers on lightly floured surface and fill each one with about 1T of filling.
  • Wet the edges with wet fingertips and crimp wrapper together to close.
  • Steam dumplings and serve with sauce.

Open Faced Caprice Sandwiches

  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 8 slices (about ½ inch thick) crusty Italian bread
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
  • 16 basil leaves
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar

  • Combine olive oil and garlic and brush onto one side of bread slices
  • Broil for 1-2min, until lightly browned.
  • Layer tomato slices, basil, and cheese onto bread, broil for an addional 1-2 min, until cheese starts to melt.
  • Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar.

Ground Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 T sherry
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 package of whole wheat linguini
  • Cook pasta according to directions. In large skillet, brown the beef, with the salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Add the chopped onion and garlic until cooked through, then add in mushrooms.
  • Stir in broth, sherry, and 2 T. yogurt. Add additional yogurt as desired for "creaminess".
  • Serve over noodles.

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