One thing I cannot stand is looking at the clock, seeing it's 6:00 pm, everyone is hungry and we have NO IDEA what we are going to make for dinner. What makes it worse is when we have no idea what to make AND we have a hodge podge of ingredients that simply don't go together.
As a Health and Wellness Coach I have my mamas plan their meals each week. Typically, in the past, this was predominantly for them to lose weight and make better choices throughout the week.
Let's meal prep for the family and save ourselves time and energy and reclaim a slither of our sanity.
I know you might be thinking Alex, I don't have time to pee alone let alone meal plan! I get it. I thought that too but the truth is, this saves you time.
...by picking a day that works for you. It doesn't have to be Sunday. We find that we figure out our meals for the following week on Friday or Saturday. It's when we shop so it works for us. A lot of mamas like Sunday but you might like Wednesday. Just pick a day to sit down and plan out at least dinner for the week.
Next, think about breakfast.
If your kids go to school you will want quick healthy options. Are you going to make a large batch of muffins for them to grab and go? Or maybe extra pancakes? No? Grab healthier cereals such as Cascadian Farm brands. They're delicious and healthier than most cereals. Another great quick breakfast you can prep are overnight oats. Place oatmeal, fruit, maple syrup or brown sugar, and some almond milk in a mason jar and put it in the fridge. In the morning you will have a yummy meal to send your kids off to school with. And never underestimate fruit. The original fast food. These tips work for kids at home too!
Always make extra dinner
...so you can utilize left overs. This just makes sense. It saves you time and money! Unless you know exactly what they serve at your child's school I wouldn't have them buy school lunch. Unfortunately, school lunch is horrible these days. Packed with non-food foods that more than likely leave your kid feeling sluggish. No good. Packing a lunch for work is also great because you don't have to think about what to eat. One less decision needed to be made.
Keep snacks simple.
Fruit, veggies, nuts, yogurt, nut butter. Keep. It. Simple. Pair a fruit or veggie with a protein and you will get a nice boost of energy while keeping your blood sugar levels balanced which prevents that horribly tired feeling you get around 3pm everyday. Take an apple and put almond butter on it. Or grab a handful of almonds. Have carrots or celery and peanut butter. Yogurt with berries. All of these are quick and simple. Go for natural butters though. Not JIF...
So how do you do it?
After you plan your dinners out for the week make sure you have exactly what you need. Sometimes I will cook a few pounds of ground turkey or beef and leave it in the fridge for spaghetti, tacos, or stuffed peppers. I do the same with chicken and chop it up for wraps, salads, and more. Pre chop veggies so you can easily pack them in snack bags. Pre wash ALL of the fruit and place it in a bowl for easy access. This works for lettuce too. Go ahead and sort almonds or nuts in snack bags ahead and put them in the cabinet so you aren't searching or packing in the morning. These little things help.
Get a crock pot!
Crock pots are awesome and save a ton of time. You can toss your meal in in the morning and it will be ready to eat when you get home. If you have children in sports or extra curricular activities or you and your spouse are getting home late and won't have time to, or just don't want to cook then this is a great go to. Crock pot at least once a week and enjoy the left overs!
This post is meant for beginners...
I could post a bunch of pictures of containers filled with food and portions for the week but the reality is many of us don't have time to do that for the entire family. It works great for individual prepping but not for family prep. Plus it can be overwhelming. When you are just starting out keep your options broad so you have wiggle room. For the first few weeks I would even suggest eating the same things each week so you get used to the way meal planning works for you. Once you are comfortable you will be able to mix things up.
Want a little more support?
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Let's connect and discuss healthy living coaching options. We have lot's of mamas just like you ready to make healthier choices for themselves and their family.
We can do it together!