After a long day at work followed by your kids’ soccer practice, it can be really tempting to call out for pizza rather than putting something nutritious on the table. Nutritious food just seems to take a lot more time to prepare. With these tips, though, you may find that a healthy meal can be a lot easier than you think!
Meal Planning Tips
- Plan ahead. Sit down once a week and plan your meals for the next week. Take into account those day which are going to be especially busy, and plan something simple for those days.
- Do your grocery shopping once a week. After you plan your meals for the week, write out a grocery list for all the ingredients you will need to prepare those meals. This will save tons of time by avoiding those extra trips to the store to pick up those items needed for a last-minute meal.
- Prep your produce all at once. Find a time shortly after you bring the groceries home to do any necessary dicing and slicing necessary for the week’s meals. Measure out the amounts you will need for each recipe and label the container. Or have a “Monday” container, a “Tuesday” container, etc. that you will use each week for that day’s chopped produce.
- Be sure that you keep your pantry and freezer stocked. Keep staples on hand. When they get low, put them on your grocery list. When you open a box or jar of any item you use regularly, put it on your list so you will be sure to have it when the opened item is used up. Be sure the things you are stocking are healthy—beans, whole grains, whole-grain pasta, frozen fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices.
- Double up. When you make a recipe, plan on doubling or tripling the recipe. You’ll have a meal for that day and more to put in the freezer for a quick, already-prepared meal another night.
- Take advantage of the simplicity of a slow cooker. The ingredients can be dumped in the slow cooker in the morning,. When you get home, a nice, warm meal will be waiting for you.
- Use shakes. For really busy days, find some good smoothie recipes, and have a healthy smoothie as a meal replacement.
- Some types of food are naturally easy. Tacos, stir-fly, or pasta dishes are usually quick to make. Find several variations of these to keep it fresh.
- Have some “go-to” meals. Make a list of the quick healthy meals that you have prepared that your family especially enjoyed. Keep those ingredients on hand so you know you always have something you can put together to keep nutritious meals on the table.
Please let us know if these are helpful to you or if you have additional tips to add that have worked for you. We’re all in this together to keep our bodies healthy!