diet

Immune-boosting family meal plan

Monday, March 10, 2008

We're constantly hearing how hard it is to try and lose weight and feed the whole family. With that in mind, we've created a meal plan which, with a little tweaking, satisfies the whole family*.

And this plan is not just about weight loss — it's about the family's health. Seasonal changes often bring about colds and flus and when one member of the family catches something, the rest usually fall down with the same thing soon after.

Build the whole family's immune system at the same time and lose some weight — now that's value for your food shopping dollar.

*Weekly lunches are not included for children at school


Day one | Day two | Day three | Day four | Day five | Day six | Day seven


Day one

Breakfast
½ cup natural muesli with 1/3 cup plain unsweetened low fat yoghurt, sliced kiwi and ½ nashi pear. Add 3 chopped prunes and sprinkle with cinnamon. Use low fat milk to moisten.

For the rest of the family: Serve fresh orange juice to boost vitamin C intake. Organic milk has over 10 times the antioxidant and is therefore worth the investment. Use organic full cream milk for children 5 years or under.

Morning snack
Chopped carrots, celery and capsicum sticks served with 3 tbsp hummus dip.

For the rest of the family: At school, the children might enjoy "Ants on a log" made from natural nut butter spread on top of the celery sticks and dotted with raisins.

Lunch
1-2 cups baby spinach mixed with ½ cup chickpeas, sliced tomato, diced capsicum, sliced Spanish onion and cucumber. Add one small can tuna in spring water and a few black olives. Make a dressing of 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and ½ clove chopped garlic and toss through salad. Serve with 1 slice dense grainy bread, toasted.

Afternoon snack
Skim milk flat white.
15 raw almonds.
3 dried apricots.

For the rest of the family: Make a smoothie using milk, banana, ground almonds or almond meal, yoghurt and 1 tsp honey.

Dinner
3 small lamb cutlets, brushed with olive oil and minced garlic and grilled.
Steamed corn, broccoli and beans, drizzled with 1 tsp olive or flaxseed oil, and toasted sesame seeds.

For the rest of the family: Add steamed brown rice/wild rice mixture to the kids' plates for extra fibre and B-vitamins.

Evening snack
Herbal tea.


Day two

Breakfast
1 slice wholegrain bread, toasted, with 2 poached or soft boiled eggs, sliced tomato and 3 slices avocado.

For the rest of the family: Add another piece of toast and perhaps a little organic butter. Add a fresh squeezed orange or green apple juice for children.

Morning snack
1 medium banana.
Skim cappuccino.

Lunch
Chicken pasta salad — use wholemeal or spelt pasta and serve with a green salad.

For the rest of the family: Make extra the night before and send to school with the children for a cold lunch.

Afternoon snack
1 large apple.
Handful mixed nuts and dried fruit.

For the rest of the family: Peel and chop apple for kids to make it easier to eat.

Dinner
Grilled salmon fillet, marinated for one hour in lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and fresh ginger. Serve with stir fried Asian greens and diced carrot, first sautéing diced onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Also serve with ½ cup mashed sweet potato, steamed until soft and then mashed with a little olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper.

For the rest of the family: Serve extra mashed sweet potato.

Evening snack
1 small tub (200g) low fat plain yoghurt, sweetened if necessary with 1 tsp honey and cinnamon.

For the rest of the family: Use full cream plain yoghurt (not flavoured).


Day three

Breakfast
Bircher muesli, served with fresh or frozen (defrosted in the fridge the night before) berries. Add 1 tbsp flaxseed oil.
1 mug tea with skim milk, no sugar.

Morning snack
3 Corn Thins topped with low fat cottage cheese and sliced tomato, with cracked black pepper.

For the rest of the family: Sandwich Corn Thins with nut butter and a natural fruit conserve, wrap in foil and pack in lunchboxes.

Lunch
Salmon salad sandwich — spread 2 slices dense grainy bread with avocado, adding rocket leaves, grated carrot, grated beetroot and capers, and 1 small can red salmon in spring water.

For the rest of the family: Capers may be too bitter for children, so omit from the sandwich. Chop rocket finely so it's easy for children to swallow.

Afternoon snack
15 almonds.
3 dried apricots.
½ cup skim plain yoghurt.

Dinner
Grilled meat patties — mix premium mince with finely diced onion, parsley and garlic. Stir through tomato paste and/or Worcestershire sauce, using egg to bind the mixture. Mix with hands to combine, and form into balls. Grill in a pan or on the BBQ, and add a slice of cheese and melt on top of the pattie towards the end of cooking or under the grill.

Serve with a large green salad and a tomato chilli salsa on the side to flavour the meat.

For the rest of the family: Make an open burger by placing the pattie on half a toasted wholegrain bread roll. The salsa may not be suitable for young children due to the chilli, so you can omit the chilli if necessary.

Evening snack
Sliced pawpaw.
For the rest of the family: Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the pawpaw.


Day four

Breakfast
½ cup natural muesli with 1/3 cup plain unsweetened low fat yoghurt, ½ sliced apple and 1 passionfruit. Add 3 chopped prunes and sprinkle with cinnamon. Use low fat milk to moisten.

For the rest of the family: Use organic full cream milk for children 5 years or under.

Morning snack
Handful mixed nuts and dried fruit (30g).
Skim milk flat white.

Lunch
Leftover meat patties, reheated and served on half a toasted wholegrain roll with a green salad.

Afternoon snack
Chopped carrots, celery and capsicum sticks served with 3 tbsp hummus dip.

Dinner
Lemon and garlic chicken on rocket.

For the rest of the family: Serve with brown rice or baked sweet potato and pumpkin.

Evening snack
Low fat plain yoghurt (200g) with fresh or frozen berries.


Day five

Breakfast
½ green pear, 1 kiwifruit, ½ orange and 1 passionfruit, mixed with 1/3 cup plain yoghurt, 8 almonds and 2 tsp sunflower seeds. Add 4 prunes, chopped.

Morning snack
3 Corn Thins topped with low fat cottage cheese and sliced tomato, with cracked black pepper.

For the rest of the family: Sandwich Corn Thins with nut butter and a natural fruit conserve, wrap in foil and pack in lunchboxes.

Lunch
1-2 cups baby spinach mixed with ½ cup chickpeas, sliced tomato, diced capsicum, sliced Spanish onion and cucumber. Add one small can tuna in spring water and a few black olives. Make a dressing of 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and ½ clove chopped garlic and toss through salad. Serve with 1 slice dense grainy bread, toasted.

Afternoon snack
Skim milk cappuccino.

Dinner
Make homemade pizzas to serve four with 2 thin pizza bases, ½ cup tomato paste, 1 cup shredded capsicum, ½ sliced Spanish onion, 6 sliced tomatoes, ½ cup of sliced olives, ½ cup shaved ham and 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese.
Serve with 1 glass only of red wine.

For the rest of the family: Kids can also have dessert of fresh fruit and natural yoghurt.

Evening snack
Herbal tea.


Day six

Breakfast
Porridge made with traditional oats and cooked in reduced fat milk.
Serve with 4 chopped prunes and 2 tablespoons of almond meal stirred through.
(Note: Use ½ cup or raw oats to make 1 cup cooked per serve — add 2 tbsp almond meal per person)

For the rest of the family: Serve fresh orange juice and use organic full cream milk served over the porridge. Children can also have raw sugar sprinkled over their porridge.

Morning snack
Skimmed milk coffee.

For the rest of the family: Morning tea for children and hungry husbands can include tea or fresh orange juice with 2 Snack Right Fruit Slice biscuits.

Lunch
2 pieces toasted grain bread served with salt reduced baked beans and steamed English spinach. To make the spinach more appealing for children, grate 2 tablespoons of mature cheese over the top.

For the rest of the family: Increase the amount of grated cheese if required. Kids can also have a full fat naturally sweetened yoghurt after lunch.

Afternoon snack
15 raw almonds.
3 apricot halves.

For the rest of the family: Fresh fruit or a fruit smoothie.

Dinner
2 BBQ'd lean beef sausages with salad of shredded lettuce, grated carrot, tomato and 2 slices of beetroot, with olive oil and vinegar dressing (3 tsp serve only).
½ cup low fat yoghurt with 2 slices BBQ'd pineapple.

For the rest of the family: Serve tomato sauce, an extra sausage and a wholegrain bread roll. Kids can also have vanilla ice cream with the barbequed pineapple.

Evening snack
Herbal tea.


Day seven

Breakfast
Scrambled eggs made with 2 eggs and ¼ cup reduced fat milk per serve (add an extra 2 tablespoons of milk for every 2 eggs used per person).
Serve on 2 slices of wholegrain toast with 1 grilled tomato and ¼ cup mushrooms sautéed in ½ tbsp olive oil.
Cup of tea with low fat milk.

For the rest of the family: Serve fresh orange juice and use organic full cream milk for children 5 years or under.

Morning snack
Cup of tea.

For the rest of the family: Morning tea for children and hungry husbands can include tea or fresh orange juice with 2 Snack Right Fruit Slice biscuits.

Lunch
Mild spicy lentil soup
2 plums and ¼ cup berries served with ½ cup low fat yoghurt and a sprinkling of chopped almonds.

For the rest of the family: Serve soup with crunchy wholegrain rolls. Follow with plain vanilla ice-cream with fresh fruit.

Afternoon snack
2 rye crispbreads.
30g bocconcini.
5 cherry tomatoes.
pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Dinner
Roast chicken breast without skin.
½ cup steamed broccoli, ½ cup dry baked sweet potato, 3 small boiled potatoes and 3 tablespoons gravy.

For the rest of the family: Add more potatoes and sweet potato and extra gravy. After the main meal the kids can also enjoy full cream fruit flavoured yoghurt.

Evening snack
Herbal tea.



Spicy lentil, pumpkin and tomato soup

  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp chilli
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ red capsicum, chopped
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 litre stock
  • 500 grams pumpkin, chopped

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot and add the onion and garlic to sauté for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the spices and red capsicum and cook for a further minute or two.
  3. Add the tomatoes, lentils, stock and pumpkin and bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 45-50 minutes.

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