So I am reading this book about healthy dinners for kids and the entire time feel sorry for the kids in these families. I also wonder if the moms really feed their kids McDonald's. Every recipe had organic veggies, ground turkey, turkey or vegetarian sausage. The vegetables were steamed plain. Everything was whole wheat this. Everything is just PLAIN and it looks like someone vomited on the plate. I am sorry but whole wheat noodles are gross. I CAN eat those things and even love tofu but my kids aren't going to eat it and I've tried and tried but they just don't make good family meals.
A good meal must savor every sense. It must have a combination of bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and savory. (umami) I lot of those "healthy meals" skipped out on "savory". (oh and East Asians add fishy but that could count as umami I guess.)
To me a good family meal is a hearty loving meal with flavor that feels the belly and warms the soul. My favorite family meals from my own home weren't salad or healthy low-fat versions of good food but the warm full meals. My favorite meals were country vegetables (our vegetarian night), barbecue chicken, and ranch style hash which was basically beef and rice. I loved stew and my mother's turkey and dressing. And yes, I do cook with butter but at least it wasn't bacon grease.When I talk about these meals with women I have literally seen their noses sneer at me as if I said I ate roasted racoons with a side of Meth.
A savory meal can be healthy as long as you don't eat 5 helpings of it. None of my kids are overweight and all of them are healthy. There is nothing bad about feeding your kids foods with flavor and no need to torture them with bland health foods. Even the vegetarian Indian dishes are full of flavor! A Hamburger Helper meal as a last minute resort won't kill anyone and your kids will at least get some nutrients over eating nothing!