Green Pea & Chicken Casserole
This Green Pea & Chicken Casserole is my Mom’s yummy recipe that she makes for our family. It is perfect for a Sunday meal prep that provides yummy meals for the rest of the week. The base of the recipe is chicken and brown rice topped with vegetables and a flavorful, creamy lemon sauce. The dish is topped with slivered roasted almonds that add crunchiness and a nutty flavor. Add this gluten-free, dairy-free recipe to your family’s meal prep routine!
My Food Environment As a Child
This recipe comes from my Mom who is a true master in the kitchen. Growing up she always made delicious homemade meals that were nutrient-dense and filled with color. Growing up we ate 90% of our meals at home. My mom was always busy raising three kids and working part-time but never too busy to skip out on making a homemade meal. Growing up we ate dinner as a family every night of the week. As a young kid I developed a diverse palette because my Dad would never allow us to get up from the table until we finished dinner, especially our vegetables. I never had as much of a problem getting excused from the table as my siblings did. There were nights that my rebellious sister would sit at the table for hours!
Raising Healthy Eaters
My parents did two specific things that helped my brother and sister and I become healthy eaters. The first was that they created a routine of eating meals at home most nights. A 2013 study found that eating at fast food and full-service restaurants leads to increased caloric intake and decreased diet quality (more sugar, total fat and saturated fat). The next was that they made time for family meals. Research shows that sitting down for meals as a family is associated with more healthful dietary patterns in children and adolescents, including preference for fruits and vegetables. The impact of eating family meals seems to serve children into early adulthood. A 2015 study found that eating family meals during adolescents is associated with a decreased risk of becoming overweight or obese in young adulthood.
As a parent who is trying to teach their kids to eat healthy, the first place to start is to model the behavior and help your kids develop a positive relationship with food. Research shows that a Mom’s eating habits/body image can significantly impact her children. My mom never counted calories or followed diets/restricted ways of eating. She eats a nutrient-rich diet, enjoys vegetables, cooks amazing dinners, eats a lot of whole foods, has a vegetable garden, packs her lunch everyday, makes ice cream cakes for our birthdays, eats a piece of 70% dark chocolate after dinner and watches the cooking channel for recipe inspiration. She has a very balanced and healthy relationship with food which she graciously passed down to us. When raising kids there’s a very fine line between teaching them how to eat healthy and not instilling food fears or disordered eating patterns.
Focus more on encouraging kids to eat colorful diets and try new foods while also incorporating family meals into your schedule. My Mom’s yummy Green Pea & Chicken Casserole recipe is perfect for busy families because you can prepare it on a Sunday and serve throughout the week. If your family is anything like ours, Martha’s casserole will be a huge hit!