Cooking outside of the box

Can cook, won’t cook. Unfortunately, that phrase could be used to describe me lately.

Well, it’s difficult, isn’t it!? Hubby’s at work, I need to go to the gym, and the kids come in wanting dinner, like now! It’s easier to grab a meal deal from the supermarket and get the kids to pop it in the microwave. At 12 and 14, just hitting the terrible teens, they’re happy to heat up something to eat in front of the telly.

The thing is, I’ve studied nutrition and I know that processed food is not the best option for my kids.

One of my regular choices for a quick evening meal is a readymade supermarket family curry meal deal. You know the type of thing, a couple of curries, speciality rice and bhaji and naan bread to bung in the oven. But this year I’ve decided I’m going to practice what I preach. Let’s Get Cooking at Home has a great range of recipes, so I’m challenging myself to rustle-up more tasty meals that tick all the boxes but don’t come in one.

So last week number one son happened to be off school for a teacher training day I saw my opportunity and pounced.

“Fancy a curry for tea?” I asked. “We’ll make our own.”

“Okay,” he replied without a moment’s hesitation, and much to my surprise and delight.

We decided on a fabulous take-out equivalent of Chicken Tikka Masala, Flatbreads with Potato and Sweetcorn Fritters.

Next job; shopping and my second surprise of the day –  I managed to get him to do all the shopping on his own.

Back to the kitchen, and while I kept a watchful eye, he rolled up his sleeves, washed his hands and got on with preparing dinner. An hour later, with a bit of last minute help from me to bring it all together, we had the most fabulous home-made curry treat. Even more special; I had a smiling 14-year-old son, proud as punch and more than ready to tuck-in.

Tikka Masala Flatbread

Later on, I decided to have a closer look at the nutritional differences between our homemade curry and my usual meal deal curry special. Interesting findings.

Nutrition table

So I can rest, smug in the knowledge that not only has my motivation to get cooking (or get my kids cooking) meant some move towards more family time together, but it’s also a step towards better nutrition for us all.

*Note: The sugars are higher in the Let’s Get Cooking flatbread as the recipe includes yoghurt which includes sugar in the form of lactose.

By Let’s Get Cooking Children’s Food Advisor Jill Tiryaki