Book: Healthy Family Meals by The American Heart Association
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Publication date: 2009
Summary: Here’s a cookbook that attempts to deal with how to feed the kids in an environment where fun food is equated with unhealthy food, with predictable results of obese children suffering from all manner of diseases. Traditional kid foods like macroni & cheese and chicken nuggets are presented in overhauled recipes designed for busy families. The introduction has several pages of tips to make cooking healthy foods for the whole family a daily routine. My favorite chapter, “Cooking with Your Kids,” offers tips (including a visit with your children to the Farmer’s Market) and recipes like Green Bean “Worms” and Pizza Faces.
Thoughts: As hard as I had to work to get myself off the junk food rollercoaster, I have a great deal of sympathy for parents raising kids in an environment where cartoon characters market sugary breakfast cereals and toys are an enticement for fast food. I can’t pretend to know all of the challenges surrounding that, but this cookbook provides quickly prepared meals, fun recipes, and ways to include the children in shopping and preparation so that they are more likely to eat the food.
I’ve assumed that my food preferences were pretty child-like, but apparently I don’t give myself enough credit. I didn’t find any recipes in this cookbook that I was particularly excited about. My tastes run a little more sophisticated and I’m willing and able to spend a bit more time cooking so I don’t need some of the shortcuts provided here. I prefer fresh broccoli and spinach over frozen, for example, and have the time to prepare them as needed.
The recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato Fries, however, reminded me that I still have sweet potatoes in the pantry from my fall CSA boxes. The recipe in Healthy Family Meals suggests drizzling the roasted sweet potatoes with maple syrup, which probably would be good. I make a dip instead. It’s inspired by the dip served with sweet potato fries at the Elephant Bar Restaurant, which seems to be ketchup mixed with sweet chili sauce. Since I like my sweet potato fries as the main dish of my lunch, I mix the spicy tomato sauce up with yogurt cheese for some nonfat protein.
Sweet Potato “Fries” with Spicy Yogurt Dip
2 small or 1 large sweet potato, sliced into sticks
1/2 c yogurt cheese
1 T ketchup
1 t sweet chili sauce
Roast the sweet potato slices on an oiled pan at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn over the pieces and roast for 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile, mix yogurt cheese with ketchup and sweet chili sauce and serve as a dip for the sweet potatoes.
I serve these with a big salad and an apple as a nutrient-packed and delicious lunch.
Appeal: Healthy Family Meals is an excellent cookbook for families trying to engage picky eaters in healthy eating. This should also appeal to anyone looking for healthy fast recipes.
Challenges: Another cookbook for the Foodie’s Reading Challenge. Be sure to check the Weekend Cooking post at the Beth Fish Reads blog today for links to what other bloggers did in their kitchens this week.