Finding time to meal prep is challenging when you are running a busy household. Besides figuring out what you need to eat, you have to feed those small, demanding people with outrageous and ever changing food preferences—children. Below are my 5 tips to making sure you set yourself up for success at meal times, and don’t end up with a plate of wacky mac and soy chicken nuggets. (Unless of course that’s your thing.)
1. Meal plan. You don’t have to have every detail, or even which meal you will eat which night, but I highly suggest creating a meal plan for both you and the kids. I actually started doing this years ago, when I learned about it from Mara Strom of Kosher on a Budget fame. Meal planning saves you money and time because you are reducing the number of times you enter the grocery store. It also helps you choose mindfully what you would like to ideally eat, rather than running for take-out at the last minute. Here’s a link to Mara’s plan, which gives you a general idea of this strategy:
2. Pick a day to Grocery shop. Ideally when you only have to bring one kid with you. Have you tried going shopping with several children? You are definitely going to forget something while you try to extract a child from behind a mountain of paper towels. You may even need to abandon ship and leave when you refuse to purchase unicorn cereal and it gets ugly. But really, if you don’t have the foods, you’ll be scrounging. So do yourself a favor and figure out which day you can get the job done.
3. Buy convenience foods. Yes, I’m a health coach and I’m telling you to buy convenience foods. The easier you can make this process for yourself the more likely it’s going to happen. So pay a little extra and get the prechecked vegetables, or choose vegetables you don’t have to check. Choose the pre-apportioned salmon that you can throw in the oven. I know it’s cheaper not to, but where is the cost savings if you end up throwing out that head of lettuce you meant to drag the light box out for? If you can find foods that fit on your plan that you can throw in the microwave, even better. This is real life, are you really going to have the presence of mind to defrost chicken before you leave for the day? Maybe, but have a fall back plan.
4. Have a 24 hour plan. If all else fails and this feels overwhelming, all you really need is a 24 hour plan. If you can figure out what your breakfast, lunch and dinner will be in a 24 hour period, you are more likely to make it through with shining colors then just winging it.
Below is a pic of what I end up eating at work if I don’t get my plan together. #fail
5. Give yourself a break if it’s just too much right now. There will always be barriers in life to obtaining your health goals— I’m not saying you should wait for a stress free period to start good habits. Nevertheless, we all have seasons of stress— time periods that just make it near impossible to focus on anything beyond getting through. If that’s you right now, cut yourself a break and get back to it when you have the mental space.
So those are my top tips for meal planning 😁 Let me know if you found any of these helpful! And also, if you would like more help with staying motivated and committed to creating health habits, I have spots open for one-on-one coaching. Reach out to me on In Real Life Health. ♥️♥️♥️