Family Meal Planning Made Easy
Meal Planning is beneficial for families, especially families that are constantly on the go and have a lot of things going on. These days, who doesn’t? Some benefits to meal planning and prepping are: it can help you save money and time, eat healthier, and reduce your stress especially when you are overwhelmed by a busy week. Here are a few tips and strategies for success with family meal planning:
- Make a Master List of 10-20 Meals: Ask everyone in your family for a list of their favorite meals. Prioritize the list, highlighting foods you can quickly prepare and meals that don’t require too many ingredients. Organize this list by category, including beef, chicken, crockpot/instant pot dishes, fish, vegetarian meals, side dishes, and soups. Gather the recipes and keep everything in a notebook or have them on your device for easy access. Referring to this list will help you plan your meals and grocery lists.
- Plan for All Three Meals: Planning out all 3 meals for each day can be beneficial because you won’t be tempted to grab something more convenient after a busy day. You can make quick easy breakfasts with some careful planning. You can also use leftovers from the previous night’s dinner to prepare lunches. Make an extra serving or several extra servings at dinner time to pack for the next day’s work and school lunches.
- Review Your Family Calendar: Are you working late any night this week? Do you have plans to visit the in-laws for Saturday night dinner? Do your kids have a soccer game or a Girl Scout meeting during the week? Take all of these scheduling issues into consideration when planning your meals. Once you know your family’s schedule, you can plan accordingly. For example, plan to eat leftovers for those late nights at work, take the night off from cooking when you visit your in-laws, and prepare a crock-pot meal for soccer night.
- Make a Double Batch of Your Favorite Meals: You can make one for dinner and one for the freezer. The more home-cooked, already prepared foods that you have stored in your freezer, the less stress you feel when planning your menu. It can save you time in the long run, especially for those weeks where the family has a lot of events scheduled. For instance, if you plan to have grilled chicken one night, grill a few extra chicken breasts and shred them after they have cooled. The cooked chicken stores well in the freezer and you can use it for a chili, salads, and soups.
- Refer to Your Meal Plan Daily: Don’t forget to check your meal plan daily to see what you need to defrost, and to make any adjustments based on last-minute schedule changes.
Below, I compiled a list of family-friendly recipes and ideas for you to try. These recipes can kickstart your family’s meal planning success.
- Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies
- Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Muffins
- Egg Muffins
- Sweet Potato Hash Browns
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes
- Banana Berry Smoothie
- Boiled eggs, crackers, berries, celery w/ nut butter
- Yogurt cup, apple, almonds, jerky stick, baby carrots
- Pita and hummus, cucumber slices, grapes, walnuts
- English Muffin Pizzas
- Banana Dog Bites
- Pesto Chicken Veggie Meatballs
- BBQ Chicken Thighs, Garlic Green Beans, Roasted Potatoes
- Sheet Pan Fajitas - You can serve this either in flour tortillas, on top of farro and black beans for a fajita bowl, or on top of a bed of dark leafy salad greens with this yummy Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette drizzled on top.
- Black Bean Tacos - I cook them in olive oil not vegetable oil and the key is to not go overboard with the cheese. We serve these with a mixed green, diced avocado, and green onion salad tossed with fresh lime juice and EVOO.
- Ground Beef and Cabbage
- Easy Flank Steak Taco Bowls
- Slow Cooker Garlic Butter Chicken and Veggies
If you would like help creating healthy habits as a family, set up a complimentary call with me. We offer healthy habits coaching services for the entire family.
- Coach Veronica