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Everyone in my family needs something different from their diet, but I don't want to cook multiple dishes for each meal!

Hi all,

I'm soliciting advice, particularly from those of you who have been there.

So, there are 4 of us. Me - I want to lose weight and get in better shape, so I need to eat really healthy and smart (good stuff, portion control, more so than any particular diet such as low carb, etc.).

My kids are both super skinny (like 5th % or less on the growth charts), and my doctor is encouraging me to give them lots of butter and oil, full fat dairy, avocado, cheese, olives, and so on.

Nuts are a no-no in our house (one allergy, and the rest, by association and to avoid contamination).

Finally, my husband - he is in great shape, thin, works out, so he doesn't need diet-y food like me, but I don't want to send him into cardiac arrest or raise his cholesterol by feeding him what I give the kids.

So short of me preparing 3 meals every time we eat, or making healthy food and then adding 1 and 2 pats of butter to his and theirs, respectively, what can I do? I say this somewhat facetiously, because it can be hard to hide a pat or 2 of butter in food without kids noticing, and then rejecting.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I had a similar situation (years ago). I just made a "base" dinner, then added to it. Honestly, you can't "subtract". The kids got: extra cheese, extra cream sauce, full fat sour cream, 2 breads with butter, veggies were buttered on the plate and not before.....and a nice fruit dessert (with loads of whipped or ice cream). We got: the same only without all the frills. I REFUSED to continue to make multiple meals at dinner. I tried. I failed. I was exhausted and cranky. We lived. The freezer is your friend. Good luck!

    1. Just off the top of my head, as I live in a similar household of two weight/health conscious adults and one big eater who doesn't get full off the light meals, yet certainly doesn't need anything that will put him in unhealthy zone;

      Tacos (with soft corn tortillas instead of shells) , where each person can add toppings, ie sour cream, avocado, black beans to liking, taco salad for healthier choice.
      Same with quesadillas, marinate chicken in lime juice and chili powder, grill, everyone adds fillings to their liking. ie cheese, green onion, olives, s.cream, avo

      Stir-fry veggies and beef, mix in whole wheat noodles for lo mein, brown rice on side for HC.

      I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce with HB or sausage and froze in serving size for meat eaters, and roast zukes, onions and mushrooms, serve over pasta with garlic infused olive oil for HC.

      Pizza on Boboli for family with usual toppings, ww pita with tomato paste/garlic oil, sm amount of cheese for HC.

      These don't take that much more effort and everyone is happy, just borrow the healthier items for yourself from families meal.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lulou23

        I do a lot of the same things. I was going to suggest fajitas. I make chicken (and/or shrimp) with lots of peppers. I eat a very small amount of the chicken and a lot of the peppers. Then everyone can add cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc, while I just add a little salsa.

        Same for pasta dinners. I eat a little pasta, a little protein (often chicken sausage) and a lot of vegetables. Everyone else adds cheese.

        It takes a little bit of creativitiy in making meals that are adaptable for everyone, but it can be done.

      2. So why not give the kids a "healthy" dessert while you do don't it eat? Rice pudding, custards, fruit crumble with ice cream. I truly don't think your kids will mind that. Oh, and when you have salads and such, put avocado, nuts and cheese on theirs but not on the adults.

        1. One thing that kids love that is Heaven with added butter is spaghetti sauce. Spoon the sauce onto your husband's serving first, put some of the sauce over your plate on whatever you substitute for the pasta (thinly sliced zucchini works as "pappardelle" or mandolin-sliced for "spaghetti," or sometimes I just put the sauce over my broccoli or spinach - yum). The sauce left in the pot gets a generous slab of butter, and the kids will never know it's there. Almost anything they'll eat can work this way - cheddar on their chili, roasted pepitas on yours and hubby's chili. Olive oil in their stew will go unnoticed. Cheese sauce on their veggies, and a sprinkle only of parm on yours and hubbys (we cannot deprive you completely). I'd even give them a healthy homemade cheese dip for their chicken fingers, and peel most of the breading off of mine.

          1. Protein, starch, vegetables, sauce (and fatty foods like cheese, avocado) on the side--everyone plates his/her own food. Makes it easy.