Meal Planning

We are two weeks into back to school and routine...making lunches and dinners suddenly becomes a bit more daunting of a task with all the time demands.   As the weeks go by life will continue to get busier and without proper planning meals will take a bit of a back burner.  

Here are some quick tips that I find make a huge difference in my house to keep everything on track and keep everyone eating well. I am sure you have heard this all before, but know it can seem like a lot to take on.  Give it a try for a couple weeks and you will see the difference it will make in your life!

1.  Carve out some time to do planning - I tend to do this Sunday.  I see wha'ts on our schedule for the week, what meals make sense and schedule in what day we are eating what.   I find this also makes my grocery shopping much more efficient and economical.  I will often make meals that have overlapping ingredients, or enough leftovers from one can be used for lunch the next way.  You also won't have the dreaded thought of "what's for dinner?" at 5:00 when you likely aren't going to make the healthiest choice.  I promise if you invest the time to PLAN you will be way ahead!

2.  Involve the family so they can make some choices as well.  If you want everyone on board with a healthier eating plan than make sure they are helping choose some of the meals that they would like as well.  Also share the load of prepping and cooking. Children can help pick what they want in their lunch and even help get their lunch ready and organized for the next day.  

3. Keep notes somewhere about what works and what doesn't work.  I try a lot of new recipes and some are hits and some don't work out.  We try to keep a list of what we like so that when it comes time to meal planning we can look at the list and pick from some good tried and true recipes.  

4. Spend some time preparing healthy snacks.  I find this so important to do every week and it really doesn't take all that long.  Having healthy grab and go snacks for school, running to work or after school is essential to keeping on track.   If the healthy food is available it will be eaten - if packaged, processed food is available it will be eaten.  Set yourself up for success!

5.  Take a break sometimes.   Balance your menu so you are not doing time consuming cooking each day or batch cook on the weekends if that works for you.   I also plan one night a week where we have an easy meal like make your own pizza night or get take out.  

It is a bit more work to start this, but if you make it a habit it will become part of your lifestyle and you will be easier healthier, fresher food as a result.  If you want more tips or some help on planning meals please reach out!