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31 Easy and Healthy Recipes For Family Meals

31 Easy and Healthy Recipes For Family Meals

1. Gluten Free Rice and Bean Casserole

Gluten Free Rice and Bean

    This healthy recipe is gluten-free, easy on the wallet, quick to cook, and delicious either alone or with a side — perfect!

    2. Light Pasta Bake With Chicken Sausage

    Light Pasta Bake with Chicken Sausage

      This nutritious pasta dish is made with whole wheat penne and plenty of tasty, cheesy vegetables.

      3. Loaded Baked Potato and Chicken Casserole
      Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole

        This easy and healthy recipe is loaded with bacon and chicken — great for the whole family.

        4. Mango Fruit Roll Ups

        Mango Fruit Roll Ups

          These roll-ups are 100% fruit, and great snacks for your children to take to school.

          5. Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells

          Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells

            This stuffed shell dish is filling, nutritious, and simple to prepare.

            6. One Pan Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli and Rice

            One Pan Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli and Rice

              This healthy recipe is great for busy nights where you don’t have much time — simple to cook and only one pan to wash up!

              7. Sweet Potato Enchiladas

              Sweet Potato Enchiladas

                This healthy, vegetarian recipe takes under 30 minutes to prepare and is filled with black beans, sweet potatoes and chopped cilantro.

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                8. Vegan Coconut Banana Cheesecake

                Vegan Coconut Banana Cheesecake

                  This tasty recipe is one of the easiest (and tastiest!) vegan cheesecakes to make.

                  9. Baked Chicken and Orzo

                  Baked Chicken and Orzo

                    This chicken and mushroom dish is soft and tender — comfort food at its tastiest.

                    10. Paleo Orange Chicken

                    Paleo Orange Chicken

                      Make your own takeaway at home with this tasty recipe. Delicious served with steamed vegetables.

                      11. Easy Crockpot Fajitas

                      Easy Crockpot Fajitas

                        These tasty fajitas have minimal prep time and are bound to be a huge success with the whole family.

                        12. Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

                        Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

                          A light casserole filled with quinoa, black beans, and cheese that you can enjoy without the guilt.

                          13. Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites

                          Frozen Chocolate Banana Bite

                            If your family loves chocolate, try this recipe for a healthy twist on snacking.

                            14. Roasted Vegetable Medley

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                            Roasted Vegetable Medley

                              This healthy roast is the perfect side dish for any family meal you are thinking of cooking.

                              15. Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet

                              Kielbasa and Cabbage

                                This dish is a great healthy recipe for busy school nights when you don’t have long to cook.

                                16. Peanut Butter Oat Bites

                                Peanut Butter Oat Bites

                                  These oat bites make a tasty, healthy snack.

                                  17. Beef Teriyaki and Vegetables

                                  Beef Teriyaki and Vegetables

                                    This recipe is a healthy choice for beef lovers.

                                    18. Easy Cheesy Tex-Mex Skillet

                                    Tex Mex Skillet

                                      This healthy Tex-Mex recipe is bound to be a success with your whole family.

                                      19. Chicken Broccoli Crescent Roll

                                      Chicken Broccoli Crescent Roll

                                        This tasty roll is great for dinner and putting in your children’s lunch boxes.

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                                        20. Burger in a Bowl

                                        Burger in a Bowl

                                          This healthy burger in a bowl recipe is gluten-free and easy to make.

                                          21. Vegan Shepard’s Pie

                                          Vegan Shepard's Pie

                                            This vegan recipe is a healthy alternative to shepard’s pie, filled with flavor and nutrition.

                                            22. Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach

                                            Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach

                                              This decadent, cheesy dish is ideal for colder nights.

                                              23. Cheesy Zucchini Rice

                                              Cheesy Zucchini Rice

                                                This zucchini rice is very easy to make, requires only one pot, and is delicious served with almost anything.

                                                24. Pineapple Sorbet

                                                Pineapple Sorbet

                                                  If your family has a sweet tooth, try this pineapple sorbet recipe. To make your presentation extra impressive, serve the sorbet up in the pineapple itself!

                                                  25. Lentil-ese

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                                                  Lentil-ese

                                                    This healthy recipe is a flavorsome alternative to bolognese.

                                                    26. Roasted Vegetables and Black Bean Tacos

                                                    Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Taco

                                                      These tacos are healthy, vegan, and great for the whole family.

                                                      27. Mango Sorbet With Banana and Pineapple

                                                      Mango Sorbet

                                                        This healthy recipe is a light and refreshing dessert, ideal in warm weather.

                                                        28. Healthy Mexican Sweet Potato Skins

                                                        Mexican Sweet Potatoes

                                                          These tasty potato skins can be served hot or cold — perfect for lunch or dinner!

                                                          29. Low Calorie Graham Cracker Coconut Cookies

                                                          Graham Cracker Coconut Cookies

                                                            This recipe is a great healthy alternative to normal cookies and it only has four ingredients!

                                                            30. Vegan Chili Mac

                                                            Vegan Chili Mac

                                                              This vegan recipe is filled with pantry staples, and is amazing comfort food.

                                                              31. Lentil Joes

                                                              Lentil Joes

                                                                This tasty take on a classic is cheap and easy to make, not to mention always popular with children.

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                                                                Amy Johnson

                                                                Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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                                                                Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                                                                Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                                                                Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                                                                Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

                                                                If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

                                                                When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

                                                                In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

                                                                1. Salmon

                                                                Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

                                                                It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

                                                                Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

                                                                Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

                                                                Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

                                                                Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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                                                                2. Blueberries

                                                                Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

                                                                Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

                                                                Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

                                                                Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

                                                                Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

                                                                3. Turmeric

                                                                Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

                                                                Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

                                                                Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

                                                                Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

                                                                Curcumin has also been shown to:

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                                                                • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
                                                                • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
                                                                • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
                                                                • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

                                                                4. Coffee

                                                                Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

                                                                Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

                                                                Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

                                                                Coffee can also:

                                                                • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
                                                                • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
                                                                • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
                                                                • Improve your memory.
                                                                • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

                                                                5. Broccoli

                                                                What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

                                                                Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

                                                                Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

                                                                Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

                                                                Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

                                                                6. Bone broth

                                                                Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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                                                                Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

                                                                Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

                                                                Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

                                                                Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

                                                                With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

                                                                Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

                                                                7. Walnuts

                                                                Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

                                                                Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

                                                                Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

                                                                Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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                                                                8. Eggs

                                                                For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

                                                                Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

                                                                Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

                                                                9. Dark chocolate

                                                                You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

                                                                Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

                                                                Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

                                                                Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

                                                                Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

                                                                Conclusion

                                                                Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

                                                                In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

                                                                If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

                                                                More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                                                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                                                Reference

                                                                [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
                                                                [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
                                                                [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
                                                                [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
                                                                [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
                                                                [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
                                                                [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
                                                                [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
                                                                [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
                                                                [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
                                                                [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
                                                                [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
                                                                [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
                                                                [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
                                                                [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
                                                                [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
                                                                [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
                                                                [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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