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Weekly meal planning is important for a healthy, active lifestyle - especially when you have a whole family to feed!
Tip #1: It WILL take time.
I know we all hope there’s a magic trick to snap your fingers and the weekly meal planning would be done. I wish! But I’m sorry to say it does not happen that way. So, you will need to set apart some time to sit down, plan the meals and do the grocery shopping. If necessary, I recommend finding a babysitter once a week so you can fully concentrate on the task.
Tip #2: Choose Themes.
You can choose themes for particular days, like Mexican Food Monday, Soup Sunday, etc. It is much easier to find a recipe you will love if you have a particular category to look for. Weekly meal planning is made easy when planning is involved!
Tip #3: Plan Before You Shop.
Make sure you’ve done your weekly meal planning before you shop. This way, you can have an exact list of items you need to eliminate spending extra time and money at the store. Try to prep food right away when you return from the grocery store; this will save you time once you start cooking.
Tip #4: Keep it Simple.
Choose simple recipes when doing your weekly meal planning, especially at the beginning. Reserve the complicated recipes for the days you have company or for special celebrations. Simple is still delicious!
Tip #5: Keep a Journal.
Keep track of what you have already had for meals before and give them a rating based on how well you and your family enjoyed the meal. Then, you can check back on the list while doing your weekly meal planning for ideas and inspiration. You could also encourage your family members to submit requests of what kinds of foods they would like included in the planning.
Tip #6: Use the Freezer.
You can put leftovers and meals that are a few days away in the freezer. This will eliminate clutter in your refrigerator and give you extra options in case you end up feeding extra people or just need to eat an extra snack in between meals.
Tip #7: Don’t forget about the snacks.
Plan a couple snacks a week and make batches of them to last the whole week. It’s always a good idea to keep some snacks on hand at all times too, just in case. Fruits, veggies and nuts are my favorite snacks to have around when it’s time to snack on something that’s not in the meal plan.
Tip #8: Do Your Research.
There are a lot of online resources that can help you with recipes and plans, here are a couple that I found:
- Weekly meal plans from Whole Foods: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/healthy-eating/meal-plans-shopping-lists
- Meal Planning 101: tips, recipes and plans. http://www.mealplanning101.com/2009/03/meal-planning-tips-such.html
Weekly meal planning does take some effort, but implementing these tips will help you make the most of your meals to keep you and your family healthy. Let the weekly meal planning begin!