Over the past couple of years, when the topic of planning weekly meals comes up in conversation, these are some of the excuses I hear as to why mom's won't change their eating habits.
* I'm not cooking two meals...
* The rest of my family is not on board with healthy eating...
* My kids don't eat vegetables...
Guess what sista...I don't cook two meals. My husband will eat whatever I cook, but not my children. My children won't even touch a vegetable. I still meal plan.
Meal planning has beocme something to reduce end of the day stress for me as well as help to keep the grocery budget under control. I began meal planning ten years ago as a way to save money. At the time, we were saving to build our forever home. Even after the saving goal was reached, I continued to meal plan because I enjoyed knowing what we would be eating on which nights and also, I learned how much money it saved by just going to the grocery store once a week. It has only been the past five years that I have used meal planning as a way to ensure we were fueling our bodies with the nutrients it required to function properly.
I understand that meal planning can be overwhelming, especially if you have never done it. A few pointers I have if you are just getting started.
- Grab a plain notebook to write out the weekly meal plan. Or Click Here to download a meal and grocery planner.
- Start by only planning dinners. Write down any evening obligations your family has already commmitted to.
- Themed nights help to decide what to cook. For example, Meatless Mondays, Taco Tusedays, etc. Or decide to have a chicken night, beef night, pork night and/or seafood night.
- Make a list of dinners that are easy to cook and that most in the family will eat. If you have melas which will yield leftovers, plan to have a night of eating leftovers. I find this helps to not feel like you are cooking every single night.
- Begin to fill in the nights with the meals from the list.
- Make your grocery list based off of your menu. This will help to make sure you have all ingredients and do not have to make a last minute trip to the grocery store.
The first few weeks you meal plan will teach you how to make it work for your family moving forward. Some weeks you may have cooked too many meals...other weeks maybe not enough meals. Just know this, meal planning is about getting organized and saving money.
Ok, now how do we make these meals healthy for mom to change her eating habits?
- Is your family having pasta one night? Swap the regular pasta for a whole grain pasta or for a spiralized veggie. You can now find spiralized veggies in the freezer section to save time.
- Is your family having a rice dish? Swap the white rice for brown rice or cauliflowered rice. You can even find other riced veggies in the freezer section now.