5pm Panic – simple easy dinners

Monday is my work day so whatever I give Freddie has to either be pre-made or really quick to prepare. It can be really easy just to resort to a can of baked beans or spaghetti on these nights but given he’s had sandwiches or similar for lunch with his nanny I really want to give him a proper meal before bedtime.

Freddie is often really tired and hungry after a fun packed day when he gets home, so the meal I offer him needs to be easy to eat and not challenge his dislikes, as the last thing I want is a meltdown. I’ve recently found that Freddie like to eat foods separated rather than all-in-one dishes. So a meat or fish, carbohydrate and vegetable combination is definitely the way to go on a Monday evening.

A simple meal doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive though.  The easiest, quickest way to prepare beautiful fish or good quality meat is to panfry it, just how I like to eat it as an adult, and serve it with seasonal vegetables.  Freddie loves fresh fish panfried in butter and a little olive oil, cook it on a medium heat so it sizzles when you put it in the pan and turns golden as the butter caramelizes. Chunks of lamb and pork also seem to go down a treat, just make sure you don’t overcook it! I want Freddie to enjoy medium rare meat rather than well-done.

For the carbohydrate I try and use different types rather than just sticking to pasta, potatoes or rice. I’ve introduced Freddie to bulgar wheat, couscous, Israeli couscous and noodles. Noddles are a real hit, I think because they are so much fun to eat!

I think the main thing I’ve realised since going back to work is that simple can be best when it comes to toddlers. Ultimately I want Freddie to enjoy well cooked, healthy food and that these simple dinner options aren’t far off what Freddie’s dad and I eat, just with a little less seasoning than the adult versions!

I’d love to hear your 5pm panic meal solutions for your little ones! If you’re looking for more ideas you might want to check out the Healthy Food Guide’s 5pm panic section of their website which has lots of fantastic quick, easy, healthy ideas.

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