Sharing an evening meal with friends or family is a great way to relax, unwind and catch up on the days events.
It’s also a good way to pick up new skills by watching or helping to prepare the food you are planning to eat.
The evening meal doesn’t have to be the main meal of the day. It just often works out that way. But you might prefer to have your main meal during the day, especially at weekends.
Your main meal should provide about one third of your daily needs for energy (calories) and key nutrients such as protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. So it’s important to have a variety of different foods over the week to help you get this healthy balance.
If you have started living more independently now or if you help to plan and prepare meals at home, try to ensure that your meal is divided roughly into three parts:
- Protein – such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese, pulses (beans, peas, lentils) or nuts.
- Energy-giving carbohydrates - such as potato, rice, pasta, bread, yam etc. Try whole grain varieties for more fibre and nutrients.
- Vegetables – cooked (from fresh, canned, frozen) or salad vegetables. Try to have 2 to 3 of your 5-a-day at this meal.
Some dishes contain all three such as pizza, shepherds pie, spaghetti Bolognaise or a lasagne. To get healthy proportions of vegetables to protein and carbohydrate in these meals try having a salad on the side or an extra portion of vegetables.
Poor food hygiene can be a common cause of food poisoning. If you are preparing foods yourself, here are three really useful tips:
- Wash your hands before you begin and after touching raw meat or fish.
- Keep cooked and raw meats separate. Avoid putting raw meat above cooked meat in the fridge. Always use different chopping boards and knives.
- If you are reheating previously cooked food, only do this once, and when you do make sure you reheat thoroughly.
Try out some of the following easy recipe ideas:
- Chicken Casserole
- Homemade Pizza
- Tomato, Leek and Bacon Rice
- Beef Chilli and Rice
- Cheesy Baked Fish
- Tuna Pasta
Or some of these vegetarian recipes:
- Pasta and Cauliflower Bake
- Vegetable Lasagne
- Broccoli Bake
- Veggie Burgers
- Vegetable Crumble
- Vegetable Chilli
Check out the Recipes section for more ideas.