7 Practical Family Meal Planning Tips For Busy Mums
We have all felt and given in to the temptation of stopping by Dominos to order a pizza for dinner after a long day of work. The kids are hungry, you have nothing prepared to eat, and you don’t even want to think about bustling around in the kitchen for an hour.
The occasional fast food meal can really save your sanity, but the problem arises when “occasionally” becomes “every other day. You want your family to be healthy and to eat a delicious, satifsying meal together at the end of the day. It’s actually possible when you create a plan of attack and make family meal time a priority.
Katie peller wrote a terrific blog post,she and many like her have found strategies and tools to make healthy meals for their families, and So Lets believe do can do it too. Here are 10 tips to help ypu
1. Know your cooking style and time limitations.
Take a moment to reflect on how you like to cook and know your limits, so that you don’t dive in over your head. It’s too easy to set lofty goals and new year’s resolutions, only to feel overwhelmed day in and day out and eventually give up. Start with setting realistic expectations for yourself, especially if you have no cooking or meal planning experience. Start small and get some early successes under your belt.
2. Create your plan of attack.
Several of the following tips go into more detail about how to plan ahead, but this point must be underlined. Planning is the only way you’ll be able to survive the week with a smile on your face.
Pick a time, like Sunday afternoon, to sit down and plan out the week’s meals and grocery lists. It sounds like a simple thing, and it is. Make time to plan and do it consistently so you get in the habit.
3. Include more vegetables and fruits into your meals.
Here are a few easy ways to do this:
- cut up fruit and veggies for after schools snacks
- sneak veggies into your meals , sauces
- be creative,involve them in the process, make it fun too
- experiment ,create and recreate new reciepes
4. Plan your meals ahead
This saves so much time and helps you eat healthier. You may prefer cooking all your meals for the month and storing them in the freezer. Or maybe making a week’s worth of meals is more your speed. Or, something in between. The idea is to get all the planning, shopping, chopping and prepping done in advance, so that your actual cooking time is minimal and stress free. This helps you look forward to dinner, instead of dreading it.
You can also do some very simple make-ahead lunches and breakfasts that you can grab and go. Make a large batch on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week:
5. Make snack time a little healthier and fun.
If your kids have an after school junk food habit, you might think about a new house rule: grab any fruit or veggie you want after school, but no junk food. Save treats for the weekend.
At the beginning of the week, slice up apples, carrots and celery sticks. After school, set out fruit and veggies on the kitchen table and offer peanut butter or veggie dips. Berries and yogurt are another healthy, easy option.
You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to make fun and healthy snacks for kids, like the one below
You can also make raisins, dried apples, apricots, craisins, and other dried fruit and nuts available for snack times.
6. Buy in bulk.
Buying your meat in bulk and cooking ahead will save time and money. Many meal planning experts will shop once a month for meat and other bulk items, like cereal, cheese, and frozen fruits and vegetables.
planning is key! When you have a plan and you can buy ahead, it’s a win for your watch, wallet, and waist line.
7. Keep it simple and don’t give up.
Remember, success won’t happen overnight. You may fall of the wagon along the way, but pick yourself up and start again. Your family’s eating habits will follow them the rest of their lives and the journey together is worthwhile. If you need extra support, think about joining a support group or a wellness class.
Source: NIH.gov We Can! program