Let’s face it, in our world today we tend to be overly busy. Between work, activities with the kids, school assignments, housework, and other commitments we tend to overbook ourselves with a long list of places to be and things to do. This overly busy schedule leads to eating “convenience foods” instead of “healthy foods”. Therefore eating healthy tends to be placed on the back burner leading to our car being one of several waiting in that fast food line. By creating a meal plan, you can put an end to lining up in the fast food drive thru lane; and put your health on the priority list. We will go over some tips to make meal planning a success while easing some of the stress throughout the week.
Tip #1: Deciding The Plan
Will you plan meals out for one week? Two? Or the Whole month? When first starting out, planning for one week at a time will probably be best. You can plan out your meals based on current sale ads, what you already have at home, and what you and/or your family enjoys eating. You can plan out all your meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) including snacks or you can pick just one or two meals to plan out. Dinner typically causes the most stress leading to eating out, so planning your dinners for the week is highly suggested.
Tip #2: Get Out The Calendar
Get your calendar out to determine what you have going on for the week. How many nights do you have something going on in the evenings making for a late night? What nights can you spend a little more time making dinner? By determining which nights are “regular” and which nights are “late” will greatly help you in your meal planning for the week.
Tip #3: Decide What You Are Going To Make
Now that you know what the week ahead looks like, what do you want to eat? It is great to have a variety of recipes to choose from ; whether the recipes come from magazines, cookbooks, family traditions, or online. You can even decide on “Theme Nights” such as Taco Tuesdays, Meatless Mondays, Pasta Night, or as we call it at my house Brinner (breakfast for dinner). Get creative and don’t be afraid to try new things. Crock Pot meals are always great for those late nights.
Tip #4: Assemble The Plan
Now that you have decided what you are going to eat, write it down. You can write it on the calendar, plug it into an app on your phone, or download and print out meal planning worksheets online. There is no right or wrong way, whatever you feel will work out best for you is the right answer!
Tip #5: Make it A Habit
This will only work if you make it a habit to take the time to prepare for the week ahead. Meal planning allows you to provide yourself and your family with higher quality food. It provides you with more nourishing options for consumption. It also helps to promote eating more “clean” foods and helps to reduce the consumption of high fatty and processed foods. Another benefit to meal planning is that it will save you money AND may even allow for one or two people to take leftovers to work the next day for lunch! Talk about a Win, Win, Win!
*Information adapted from littlefamilyadaventure.com*