What’s for dinner?
Meal planning…. Overwhelming to say the least! Hurry, hurry, rush, rush, and scramble- does this sound like your family meal routine? It’s exhausting for everyone and we often find ourselves reaching for the quickest solutions which, in general, are usually not the healthiest. The good news is that when you take the time to plan ahead, meal planning can actually:
- Reduce your stress
- Save you money
- Allow for smarter food choices
- Help you manage your time better
- Turn a hectic week into one that is much less stressful
- Help improve your personal health & the health of your family
Start off by making a list of the meals you plan on preparing for the week and put them down on paper. Getting feedback from family members helps in a couple of ways. It keeps the troops happy because they have some input and if you are making lunches for anyone during the week, you can also be creative with the ingredients. Looking for new recipes on line and referring to your own personal recipes combines a good mix of family favorites and potentially “new” favorites and keeps thing interesting.
A weekly menu is a must to keep these on schedule. You can plan your menus a week at a time, two weeks at a time or a month at a time…whatever works best for you. List the daily meals that you’ve planned (include breakfast, lunch and dinner if they are part of your routine). Keep in mind, that on your busier days, it’s best to plan simpler easy to prepare entrees. Place your list in a prominent place so you can see it clearly every day.
By preparing a shopping list, you’ll never have to walk the supermarket aisles in a dazed and confused fog again. List the ingredients that you will need to pick up at the grocery store and double check the items that you think that you have on hand in your pantry and refrigerator. This saves time in the long run and also money in your pocket.
With your list in hand, head to the market. It’s best to start with the outside aisles where most of the food is fresh and unprocessed. Stick to your list and don’t deviate from your plan. You are well prepared for the coming week.
If possible, take some time during your weekend to prepare for the upcoming week. It’s a great way to begin and you will honestly feel so accomplished. Cut up fresh vegetables for snacks or those that will be used in the planned dishes. Prepare a soup or casserole in advance- most entrees will keep safely in the refrigerator for several days. Kids often love to help in the kitchen. This is a win- win situation in so many ways if you have a relaxed outlook and don’t allow yourself to get stressed.
It sounds so simple and it really is. A big part of this process is just getting organized and committing to follow through with the details on a weekly basis. We promise that life will become easier, healthier, and a huge time saver and most of all good for you and your whole family!