Dinner is a great time to try and get everyone to sit at the table together. Once again, the media uses this to their advantage when trying to advertise "quick and healthy" meals for the family. Here is a list of their not so healthy ideas, but much healthier alternatives.


1. Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a popular dish for take out dinners. Restaurants advertise that the chicken is cooked at a high heat, preventing the oil from being fully absorbed.

This may be true for the chicken meat, but consider that the breading soaks up all the fat instead. Children love the crunch of the coating on chicken, but nutritionists recommend baking it to keep the crunch without all the fat. Also watch out for the gravy that is commonly served beside take away fried chicken.



2. Fettuccine Alfredo 

Fettuccine Alfredo is a delicious meal, but it can be wickedly unhealthy. The creamy sauce is often packed with fat and calories from heavy cream, butter, and plenty of cheese for  flavor.

You can certainly make a healthy pasta dish, but ditch the creamy sauces altogether. Opt instead for a fresh and hearty tomato sauce to incorporate minced vegetables in a sneaky way. Look for whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta to amp up the fiber content.


3. Fish Fingers

It can be hard getting children to eat fish. It has a stronger flavor and strange texture. Fish fingers are a popular childhood dinner as their fun shape and their mild taste is pleasing.

Even if it tastes fishy, ketchup and sauces can mask it. Fish fingers contain too little fish and have way too much breading. The sauces are also packed with sugar. Try pan frying mild fish like tilapia instead and coating it in a whole grain, baked crust.


4. Frozen Meals

Frozen dinners are popular for saving time in the evening. They used to be packed with calories, but modern frozen dinners are typically low in calories and high in salt. Children should only be getting 1000-1500 milligrams of salt per day. One frozen dinner can contain double this amount.

Instead of buying frozen dinners, make your own frozen meals. Portion out pre-cooked foods like chili, taco meat, and stew. Let it thaw overnight or in the microwave for a fast, microwavable meal.


5. Tuna Casserole

Tuna casserole is a classic weeknight meal. It sounds healthy! After all, tuna is a healthy fish! Unfortunately it’s the excess cheese, cream soup, and butter in this dish turn it from healthy to indulgent.

However, you can certainly make a healthy casserole for weeknight dinners easier. Make the cheese sauce with skim milk and light cheese or use sodium and low calorie cream of mushroom soup, and add in a variety of fresh or frozen vegetables along with the tuna.


Resources: activebeat.com