Updated: Mar 4
Planning healthy meals can be difficult and time-consuming, but with some advance planning and some basic knowledge of nutrition, it is easy to create a week’s worth of healthy meals that everyone in the family will love.
The key to creating healthy, delicious meals for the family is planning, planning and planning. Planning the week’s meals ahead of time is the best way to create meals you can be proud of, while keeping cost and time commitment to a minimum.
Convenience devices such as slow cookers and pressure cookers can be a huge time saver when planning and preparing meals. There are many delicious and healthy recipes that can be started in the morning and left to cook all day in a crockpot or slow cooker. These are great choices for working families.
In addition, making the meals ahead of time on the weekend and heating them is a great way to stretch both your food and your time.
When planning the meals for the week, it is a good idea to create a chart listing each day’s menu and each days’ schedule. Planning the quickest, easiest to prepare meals for the busiest days of the week is a smart strategy.
It is a good idea to involve the entire family in creating the week’s meal plan. Get everyone’s input and note everyone’s favorite foods. Of course, that does not mean eating pizza every night or having ice cream for dinner. It is still important to eat healthy meals, and involving your partner and children in healthy meal planning is a great way to pique their interest in healthy eating at an early age.
It is also a good idea to get the entire family involved in the preparation of the meals. Even children too young to cook can help out by setting out the dishes, chopping vegetables, clearing the table and washing the dishes.
Cooking large quantities of healthy food is a great way to save time. Cooking large amounts of stews, soups, pasta, chili and casseroles can be a huge time saver. Making double and even triple batches of these staple foods, and freezing the leftovers for later use, is a great way to save both time and money.
When freezing leftovers, however, it is important to label the containers carefully, using freezer tape and a permanent marker. Try to keep the oldest foods near the top to avoid having to throw away expired items.
Stocking up on meats when they are on sale is another great way to use that valuable freezer space. Stocking up on such easily frozen foods as chicken, turkey, ground beef, steaks, roasts and chops is a great way to make your budget stretch as far as possible while still allowing you and your family to enjoy healthy, delicious meals every day.
Keeping a well-stocked cupboard is as important as keeping a well-stocked freezer. Stocking the cupboards with a good supply of staple items like quinoa, peanut butter, nuts, canned tomatoes, dry herbs, lentils, beans and the like will make healthy meal preparation much faster and easier.
It is easy to combine these staples into many great meals at a moment’s notice.
Vessie, Holistic Nutritionist, B.Med.Sc.(HONS)
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