Parents who plan nutritious family meals during the week often find that their children grow up to make healthier food choices. While it’s not always easy to get everyone to the table on a busy weekend, a little preparation will help you and your kids have a much better week.
Getting the family to eat healthy every night is not always easy. With busy work schedules and extracurricular activities, dinner time can often feel like an unpleasant obligation. Sometimes the rush to feed the kids leads to moms and dads eating later and often haphazardly.
If you find preparing meals together difficult, you are not alone. For most people, it is often impractical to spend time shopping, preparing ingredients and preparing meals. However, with a little planning ahead, you can give yourself and your family the best chance of enjoyable and hassle-free dinners throughout the week.
If you start the week with a meal plan, you’ll not only save time and grocery shopping, but you’ll also reduce food waste and keep your nutritional needs in check.
Why Plan Your Meals?
If you are wondering if it is worth spending so much time and energy on meal planning, the answer is yes! Here you will learn how a little meal planning can contribute to a happier and healthier home:
Meal planning saves you time – The time you spend planning your week may seem like a lot, but if you add in all the shopping you often have to do, you’ll find that many hours are wasted. Once you know what you plan to eat for the whole week, you can make an efficient trip to the store with a list of exactly what you need.
Meal plans save you money – with a weekly plan in hand, your grocery trips will be cost-effective and less likely to lead to impulse purchases. And by planning healthy meals for the week, you will avoid last-minute orders at your local restaurant.
Meal planning will help you prepare healthy meals – meals you prepare from scratch are more likely to be unbalanced than meals you plan in advance. A meal plan will ensure that you have the right combination of nutrients on your plate and in your children’s food to get you through the week.
Meal plans provide variety on your plate – it’s easy to get into a rut and cook the same thing over and over again. If you take the time to do a little research at the beginning of each week, you may find more interesting recipes to try.
Meal planning reduces food waste – by using meal planning you can make sure you only buy what you need, so you have fewer extra ingredients in your fridge before you throw them away. It can also make your home a little more environmentally friendly!
Meal planning gives kids structure – meal planning helps you get dinner on the table on time every night by creating a routine that you and your family can rely on.
Meal planning makes mealtime more fun – having a plan gives you more time and allows you to involve children more. You can involve them in planning, shopping and even cooking!
Meal Planning Tips for Busy Parents
How you create your own meal plan is entirely up to you, and there is no wrong way to do it. The important thing is to find the rhythm that works best for you and your family. However, there are some basic steps that can help even the busiest families get started:
Create a menu – whether you’re planning two meals or seven, it’s worth starting by planning what you and your family will eat. Get inspiration from cookbooks, food blogs and YouTube channels and try new recipes.
Create a grocery list – another tip that may seem simple, but writing down a grocery list really helps with meal planning. It will help you keep track of what you need, avoid unnecessary impulse buys, and make sure you don’t forget the essentials.
Involve the kids – You don’t have to do it alone, if your kids are old enough to help, you can involve them in the process. Get their input on the meal plan, have them help with the shopping, and show them how to prepare the meals each week. You will build their confidence in the kitchen and give them a healthy relationship with food that will help them in the future.
Meal Preparation – You may have more time on Sunday afternoons than during the week, so it can be helpful to prepare some meals ahead of time. See if the vegetables you are working with can be pre-cut or if some things can be pre-cooked. When it’s time to eat on Tuesday, you’ll be thankful for that little time saver!
If possible, cook ahead – cooking a big pot to feed the family for two nights is a great way to save time during a busy week. If you don’t like eating the same thing twice in a row, you can store leftovers in the freezer to eat quickly another day!
Take a break – as with everything in life, you need a break. Whether you order takeout or eat out, there’s no shame in taking a night off.
How a Meal Kit Service Can Help
Of course, meal planning is often easier said than done! When life gets in the way, there are services to help. If you’ve never heard of meal plans, you can think of them as your personal meal planners who do all the work for you. They provide weekly food deliveries with nutritious recipes to feed you and your family for as many evenings as you need. You can enjoy it with a service like HelloFresh:
Fresh food delivered to your door at a time of your choosing.
Recipes and meal plans for the whole family, with easy step-by-step instructions to get your food from the kitchen to the table quickly.
Pre-measured ingredients for recipes with perfect portions and balanced nutrition that take the guesswork out of meal planning.
A wide selection of fresh, seasonal produce to enhance your daily meals.
A customizable ordering board that lets you choose how many meals per week you want to be supported, with options for families of all sizes.
Flexible options for vegetarians, flexible diets, high protein diets and more.
Spend Time Together with More Family-Friendly Options
Not all catering services cater to families. HelloFresh stands out with its specialized family meal service that caters to all types of families. With a family-friendly plan, you can bring kids and adults together:
A wide selection of family-friendly recipes that are quick and easy to prepare and appeal to even the pickiest eaters.
Recipe cards with special Little Chefs tips to help you prepare each dish for your kids. Let them smash, stir, toss and roll – guaranteed fun (and maybe a little messier!).
Fresh, seasonal ingredients and vegetable dishes with healthy proteins and carbohydrates make for a nutritious and tasty meal that both kids and adults will enjoy.
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