When you’re busy, it’s so hard to keep up with healthy meals. Especially when the kids crave and ask for all the junk.
Pizza, Chick-fil-a and other fast and convenient foods often become a staple–and they have in our house too. But surprisingly, the kids have been pushing back on this kind of food. And I couldn’t be happier.
My kids have recently asked that we get back to meal prepping so our meals are healthier–and home-cooked. (They’re making sure that Jeff and I are no longer the lazy food preparers that we are.) If we plan ahead (and prep ahead), it’s easier to put meals on the table when it’s convenient for us.
If you’re in the same boat, I have some tips for you!
Make Snacks Simple
You could argue that my kids are old enough to prepare their own snacks. It’s true. But they’re also kids and teens and I know that without some thought and pre-planning, they’re going to go for the chips and cookies because that’s easier. So by having fruits and veggies washed, cut and in individual containers, I know they’ll grab them. Plus, having fruit on hand can satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth (mine included).
Plan Those Meals
Having a Friday night in? Use that as a time to plan the meals you’ll make for the following week. Go through recipes and favorite dishes and get input from your kids on what they want to eat. Then head to the store (alone, preferably) on Saturday and spend some time Saturday or Sunday to prep. This is when you’ll get the fruit and veggie snacks ready, cook meat for your week’s meals and chop the veggies that go into the meals. You can also cook big batches of rice, pasta and quinoa as needed. Then putting together dinner is a cinch each night.
Plan the Night Before
Know what your schedule looks like each day, before the day starts. If you have something in the freezer that needs to come out, get it in the refrigerator the night before so you don’t forget. And put anyone on notice what they’ll need to do to get dinner started. You can have the kids pop something into the oven before you get home from work, for example. This is also a great time to get help with lunches for the next day (get the kids involved!)–for your kids and for you. Without a plan, you’re just asking for a drive-through run.
If worst comes to worst, there is always take-out. But be sure to find the healthiest version possible. That means leaving the fries and sodas off the order and asking for fruit or a side salad instead. But a little bit of pre-planning means you’re teaching your kids a valuable life lesson and establishing a routine that you can do each week.