Healthy Family Food Makeover – Annabel Karmel

Fast food and poor-quality ready-to-eat meals are becoming a regular part of the average diet, but I don’t want that for my daughter or my family. I’ve made fast food a weekly, sometimes a lot more, venture to say the least. I didn’t put much thought into the foods that I was putting into my body, but now that I’m going to be a mom, I need to take better care of myself and my family. If I want my daughter to grow up healthy and strong, I need to include fresh, healthy foods in her diet. Cooking healthy foods for my family doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. In Favorite Family Meals, bestselling children’s food author Annabel Karmel applies her signature fresh, creative cooking style to focus on the family and shows how you and your children can enjoy time spent in the kitchen preparing everyday dishes that are delicious, nutritious, and often just plain fun to make and eat!

Her collection of all-time favorite recipes has a key ingredient: child appeal. I’ve found inspiration for meals for all occasions, including burgers and chicken nuggets, low-fat dishes, nutritious lunch box fare, family suppers, and even adult dinner parties. The practical guidelines are designed to give families a “food makeover” by organizing a healthy pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, and by providing time-saving tips for making meal planning easier. Favorite Family Meals offers realistic ways to improve my whole family’s diet, as well as advice on promoting good nutrition to children, because it’s not good enough to prepare healthy food for kids — they have to want to eat it, too!

I’ve already begun the process of incorporating Annabel Karmel’s recipes into our daily eating plans. My husband and I love the Zucchini and Raisin Muffins that easily incorporate vegetables into our diets while providing a simple to make and deliciously tasting treat, and her Marinated Beef with Vegetables is a delicious, quick, and easy to prepare beef stir-fry that is quickly becoming a family favorite.

I never thought of myself as much of a home-maker. Cooking has always been a task for me and creating healthy meals has never been a goal of mine. As a stay-at-home mom and wife, my life has been changing little by little. It’s now satisfying to enjoy a lovingly prepared home-cooked meal with my husband, and knowing that we are eating fresh, healthy foods that will give us a longer, healthier life with our family is a great reward.

Annabel Karmel offers a long list of books that offer nutritious meals for children and families without the need to spend hours in the kitchen. She’s found a place on my bookshelf and her books will be well-used in my kitchen by myself, my husband, and hopefully my baby girl.

You can check out some of her online recipes and available recipe books at http://www.annabelkarmel.com/

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50 thoughts on “Healthy Family Food Makeover – Annabel Karmel

  1. The topic of study in my SCI/162 class for this week coming is nutrion and making healthier food choices to reduce the risk of developing diseases and other issues. I like how this post goes with what I am also studying in school!

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  2. hey it’s a good thought 🙂 and also a great choice 🙂 a fresh home cooking food is priceless I think, coz you also pour your love into it 🙂

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  3. I think everyone should think about what to eat or not, especially if your pregnant 🙂 And it s not that hard to cook healthy food each day 🙂 This book seems to be a good one 🙂

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  4. Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to check her book out!

    One mistake that I made early on is assume my kids wouldn’t like things or grow to like things. I wish that I had given them my food from the beginning: even if it was sautéed spinach or curried soup! I also tried to hide things in food or hide the fact that what I was serving them was a healthy version. I felt like I had to “trick” them. I should have been open and honest from the beginning to help broaden their mental pallet! I am slowly overcoming it, though…

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  5. Hi! I saw that you had “liked” one of my posts and I appreciate you checking out my blog 🙂

    My family was always trying out different ethnic foods and unafraid to give drinking soymilk a shot or randomly selecting dinner from the Vietnamese market around the corner. Growing up being healthy and open about food has positively impacted so much of my life even outside of actually eating. The only “bad” thing is how crazy picky eaters make me! It’s awesome that you’re already thinking about your daughter so much and I look forward to reading more of your entries.

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  6. What an interesting book! Definitely going to check it out. Both of our girls love to “help” in the kitchen. An added bonus, btw – they’re much less picky as eaters if they’ve had a hand in the prep!

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  7. I have read that book and it really is wonderful. As my little one gets older i will have to use some of them on her. I actually use some on my piggy (significant other) because he was one of the most picky eaters I know. My grandma has fostered over 35 kids and has 6 children 12 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren of her own and she never is sneaky or lied about nutritious stuff. She is always honest and just makes it fun and interesting and tries to let the kid feel like they are involved. Grocery shopping with your little one is also a good way to get them to open up a little. Have them hand you things and ask them questions. At least that is what I learned from my family and other succesful “healthy” families. Thanks for spreading the word about the book 😀

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  8. Cool! Thanks for sharing this Lesley! I feel our family eats pretty good & my kids (thankfully) don’t balk at broccoli & sweet potatoes, but it’s always fun to try new family friendly recipes! I’ll definitely be checking out Annabel’s site!

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  9. Good on you and congrats on your pending motherhood. Annabel Karmel was my first go to book when I first became a mom. The best thing you will ever do for your own health and the health of your children is to avoid refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup and all products/ baked goods that contain it. Start them off when they are young and they will thank you for it when they enjoy an abundance of health and vitality:)

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  10. When my kids were growing up they got fast food on the Friday I got paid every two weeks, other than that it was dinner by mom. They grew up eating and trying every kind of food, and didn’t turn down most. Nice post.

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  11. Thank you Lesley, for reading my blog post. As I looked over your blog, I learned that besides being lovely and adventurous, you are also very supportive of other writers. I’m so impressed by your care and dedication to reading other blogs. Just so you know, it made my day.

    I love to cook but I am guilty of just going out to eat when I’m busy and stressed. But my husband and I are trying to eat out only once a week in 2012 (except on vacation of course) and it’s been really fun to get in the groove of shopping and cooking real food. One thing you could do for fun with your baby girl is to institute family picnic night, which means spreading a blanket out on the floor and eating with your hands just for fun! Funny how stepping away from the table and eating on the floor makes an ordinary meal just that much more exciting. I wish you all the best with your baby and I look forward to reading your blog.

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  12. Thanks for the recommendation. The great thing about kids is they LOVE just plain ole carrot sticks, apple slices, etc – are most likely the inspiration behind the whole raw food thing! As far as most kids go, the simpler the better, especially when they dont get a talst for ‘sweets” early in life.

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  13. great suggestions…seems like we are always fighting this battle at home. AND lately, over the past year, we really seem to only enjoy eating our own home cooked meals as opposed to eating out. So much better for you too! Thanks again!

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  14. Isn’t it nice to realize that the time-tested ways remain best?

    Quite some time ago, I decided that if food was worth eating, it was worth not only sitting down to enjoy, but it was worth doing so in a civilized manner at a table – not in a car, or any other unsuitable area. Since that time, I have almost completely eliminated so-called fast “food” from my dietary intake – I literally do not recall the last time I ate at any such commercial hovel. In that same period of time, I have learned that good food can be prepared in a visually pleasing manner, and done so with grace, simplicity and in very short order (that means “it didn’t take a long time to prepare”).

    For example, most recently, I prepared a pleasantly arranged salad of mixed greens, fresh spinach & bias-sliced celery served with toasted Swiss cheese bread topped with sliced baby portobello mushrooms melted in the toaster oven. It made a wonderfully delightful meal! And that’s just for beginning! A few walnuts or cashews could’ve been thrown on for added taste, as well as a dash of olive oil – which I sometimes do. I make my own vinaigrette (rarely use anything else) with an egg yolk to emulsify the mixture, and sometimes add some frozen orange juice concentrate for a bit of extra flavor.

    The time we spend with each other in the kitchen, preparing and serving our meals, then enjoying them together at a common table is indeed the height and foundation of civilization and humanity.

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  15. Hi Lesley!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and I am glad you enjoyed my post–and my first post at that :))

    Especially glad to have discovered your blog! Great writing, and this post will be helpful as I’m trying to take on better eating habits as well :))

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  16. Hi, congrats on your pregnancy! eating healthy and well is one of my main concerns too on being pregnant. I am starting to change into this habit bit by bit. Will definitely check Annabel’s website. Great read 🙂

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  17. I found with my kids that just making dinner as we normally would allowed them to try and eat just about everything (once they were on solids). Now at 7 and 10, they eat what we have for dinner, even if they don’t love it, because they know that there is one meal being made and that’s dinner. You don’t have to eat it, but you’ll be might hungry come morning. Having had an eating disorder, I don’t ever want to make food a big deal – it’s always been eat when you’re body is hungry (mostly) and we make good foods for your body and I’m not a short order cook. If you’re body is healthy, that’s what matters. Now, having just had a meal planning business, I can say that planning things out makes things sooo much easier when life gets crazy and it is easier to just order pizza or pickup some convenience food at the market. So that’s a good place to start, too.

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  18. Leslie, so glad you decided to follow my blog. Welcome to the journey with us bonkerly critters and unfolk! I, too, have flow sailplanes and sky-dived. There is nothing like it for totally and absolutely connecting with creation. My daughter-in-law has many of your same concerns about healthy food raising her own two children. She, too, works to involve them in meal and snack preparation. I am tweeting and facebooking this post–also emailing her a link. I am truly excited to have found your blog and look forward to many more visits! This post is wonderful, by the way, because of your attitude in moving to more healthy and inclusive approaches to family meals.

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  19. hi lesley! thanks for going to my blog, it kinda made my day… 🙂
    i think it’s really cool that you do a blog post every day! i could never find time to do that, what with school and stuff. 😀
    whoa, all that food looks really really good! i think i’ll go find out what’s for dinner…

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  20. Annabel is fabulous–she was a staple for me when my son first started eating solids. So easy to make fresh, wholesome food for baby! Later, try “The Toddler’s Bistro”, “Deceptively Delicious” (if you suddenly find yourself with a picky eater–or not, even) and weelicious.com. My son is 4 now and yet I always check these books and sites. Happy motherhooding! It’s the most fantastic journey ever.

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  21. This food looks awesome! I’ve got to tell you – I know it says that these things are for kids – but I’m considering buying this cookbook for myself… something about the simple pleasures in life 🙂

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  22. Wow! I know there are sooo many comments already about your blog, but I’ve read a few of your entries after you liked mine (which I thank you by the way). They are really good. And I’m glad you are thinking twice about healthy food. It’s really important to be healthy, that’s what I’ve learned since I used to do gymnastics.
    Very nice blog!! 🙂

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