While dining out on occasion is enjoyable, it is more beneficial for families to eat at home. When you plan meals for your family, you can control what ingredients go into the food and cut down on the portion sizes. In fact, according to a study presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, children whose parents took time to prepare meals at home were more likely to make healthy food choices. Meal-prepping can also reduce your grocery bills and help you save time in the kitchen. Here are six helpful tips for planning meals for your family.
Create a Calendar
One of the first things you should do is create a calendar that includes the meals you want to cook over the next few weeks. Whether it is a paper calendar or a Google calendar, this will keep you organized and help you remember what sorts of foods you have to prepare. If you have run out of ideas for meals, ask your family members for suggestions.
Write a Shopping List
In order to buy the items you truly need and avoid impulse buys, it is crucial to create a shopping list and stick to it. Think about all the different ingredients you will need to make your meals for the week and write them down. It is a good idea to organize your grocery list by the aisle. For instance, under the meat and seafood aisle, you might want to include foods like halibut, chicken breasts, salmon, and ground turkey.
Plan Your Meals Around Foods That Are in Season
If you plan meals around foods that are currently in season, you can save a pretty penny on you grocery bills. For example, during the winter months, you can buy more winter squashes and sweet potatoes and makes soups and other hearty meals with them. When summer rolls around, you can shop for corn on the cob, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Make Double Batches
A good way to save time on meal-prepping is to cook double batches of your favorite meals. For example, if you want to serve a pork roast one night, you can cook a little extra roast and cut it up after it has cooled down. Store the extra meat in your freezer until you want to cook with it again. You can make plenty of simple and delicious meals from pork roast, such as soups, salads, and tacos.
Plan for All Three Meals
When you are meal-planning, you can't just think about dinner. You also have to plan what you are going to each for breakfast and lunch. If you do not plan ahead for these meals, you will be more likely to stop at the drive-thru or buy a microwavable meal. There are plenty of easy breakfast foods you can prepare in no time, such as baked oatmeal and breakfast muffins. It is also a wise idea to use leftovers from dinner to make lunches.
Try Theme Nights
Having theme nights can simplify the meal-prepping process, especially if you have kids at home. You can serve tacos on Monday, chicken on Tuesday, fish on Wednesday, pasta on Thursday, and soup on Friday. You can still keep things interesting with theme nights. For example, you might serve salmon one Wednesday and halibut the following Wednesday.
Meal-prepping can be simple and stress free. If you follow these helpful tips, you can plan meals efficiently and with ease. If you are very busy one week, do not hesitate to get your family members involved in the meal-prepping process or seek the help of a company such as Healthy Chef Florida.