Meal Planning Can Help Simplify Things For You in the New Year
By Christine Steendahl
Being a mother is a rewarding job, but it's also a difficult one. Between all of the cleaning, homework help, laundry, and motherly advice, we have to find time to prepare meals that are both healthy and appealing to the little ones. If we don't have a strategy, it's next to impossible.
That's one reason that meal planning is often overlooked in favor of fast foods. While little ones generally like frozen pizzas and microwavable items, they are usually low on nutritional value. If we plan meals in advance, we can reduce the amount of convenience foods our families eat and increase the amounts of important vitamins and minerals they get. So why not make meal planning one of your New Year's resolutions?
How Do I Go About Planning Meals?
Meal planning does take a certain amount of time and thought, but it makes things much easier when it is time to prepare the meal. When you plan ahead you know that you'll have all of the ingredients you need, and you can plan simple meals for days when you know you are lacking time. Here's how to do it:
1. Begin your meal plan the day before you plan to go to the food store. You don't have to plan by calendar weeks, but planning for 7 days at a time makes it easier to keep up with.
2. Choose what you are going to make for breakfast, lunch, and supper each day. Be sure to include at least one of everyone's favorite foods each week. You could make a separate list of favorites for easy reference. You could delegate this task to the little ones so they feel like they are a vital part of the meal planning process.
3. Don't forget to incorporate some variety every now and then. Trying new things is good for us. And it's a great behavior to role model to little ones.
4. Make sure that each meal is nutritionally balanced. If you're not a health expert, get a food pyramid chart to refer to for the proper number of servings per day of each food group. You may not be able to hit a perfect balance every day, but you should be able to come reasonably close.
5. Once you've planned the meals for the week, make a grocery list. Go through your menu plan and figure out what ingredients you need to buy for each meal.
6. When you go to the grocery store, don't forget to pick up some healthy snack options. Fresh fruits are a popular type of nutritious snack among little ones, and they are loaded with beneficial vitamins.
There are many benefits that go along with planning meals. It allows us to feed our little ones nutritious food with minimal fuss and stress. It saves us time in the long run. And it lets us keep everyone happy by having their favorite foods on a regular basis. Planning meals is an excellent way to start off the New Year.
About the Author: If you would like more help with your meal planning, and a sample one week menu and grocery shopping list, check out http://www.dinewithoutwhine.com