What does it take it to plan, organize and prepare meals for the family in your household? Is it a stressful and chaotic time? Do you even do it at all, or do you prep daily late in evenings for next day? It should be absolutely what works for you but if you are a meal planner or wish to be one, we have some tips and hints to help you become a successful one. We have ideas that will help you keep your time in the kitchen to a minimum while you prepare nutritious meals with lots of variety? Kids can be very picky eaters and you need to make sure they will eat their lunch when they are off to kindergarten and school.
Well the basic 4 items you need to cover off are the following:
- Decide menu for the week/workdays
- Prepare a grocery list
- Shop for the items
- Cook and pack
The first one is maybe the hardest one. Give yourself time to plan. Set aside time each week to make a meal plan. You need to sit down and come up with easy, quick to make items that are different than last week and are nutritious and easy to take to school, work, etc. Best thing to do is come up with a long list of meals your family enjoys, and perhaps make Fridays a set day to have their favourites. Then select easier meals to tackle lunches and keep into account whether a microwave is available for your family to use. Here are some easy kids lunch ideas hat may help with that: Ham and cheese quesadillas, Spring pasta salad, Roasted veggie sandwiches, Tuna salad sandwiches, Apple peanut butter sandwiches, Hardboiled eggs with hummus and crackers.
Then write down a menu for the upcoming week or every meal you plan to make during the week, write down every ingredient you need in order to make every meal, including sides. Think of the ingredients it takes to season items, the sauces and condiments you might need and baking items such as flour, oil and sugar too. And then check what ingredients you already have in your cupboard, fridge or freezer.
Meal planning can really be a great way to save money. When you meal plan, you are able to go to the grocery store and only purchase groceries that you need which allows you to avoid impulse buys. It is also great to plan ahead to use leftovers from one meal to make another meal later in the week so that your time and effort cooking pulls double duty! Most weeks in the meal plan use at leftovers at least once to create a completely new and exciting dinner for another night.
And then of course rotate your meal menus every couple of weeks. Ask the kids for ideas also, and give them a chance to do their favorite on let’s say a Friday being pizza Friday! They can even help garnish their pizzas with their favourites.