Posted on: 10 October 2016Share
Finding time between work and a social life to prepare healthy meals at home can be difficult. When you throw a toddler into the mix, you may find yourself making the same five meals over and over because they are quick and easy. However, there are plenty of methods of meal planning and preparation that will allow you to get your ingredients together ahead of time and cook healthy and delicious meals even if you have a lot on your plate. Below are a few tips that you may want to follow for easy meal prep.
Set Aside Time Each Week to Do Meal Planning and Preparation
Even if you have a relatively strict schedule that you follow with your family, it can be difficult to find an hour to each meal. However, if you complete most of your preparation on one day each week, it can drastically reduce your daily meal prep and cleanup. For example, you may want to pre-chop all of your vegetables for the week and store them in plastic containers. Or you may want to pre-cook chicken breasts for sandwiches and salads.
You may want to enlist the help of a babysitter or send your parenting partner out with the kids and focus for an hour or two each weekend on meal prep for the week. This way, you will be prepared with fast but fresh meals throughout the week.
Get a Mobile App for Shopping and Meal Planning
App stores of all platforms are saturated with apps meant to help you plan your meals and shop for ingredients, which means that there is a high chance you will find an app that works with your needs and food preferences. Take some time to think about the features you find useful. For example, do you want to add items to your shopping list based on recipes or do you want to have a photo of your current refrigerator and pantry that you can access while in the grocery store? Try a few different apps before purchasing one, but don't be afraid to spend a little money to get a high-quality app.
Enlist the Help of a Professional
There are many professional services based around meal planning. For example, you can work with an online coach to help you plan your meals for each week or month. A personal meal planner can help you figure out how to stay in budget while reducing your prep time. Additionally, they can give you ideas for creative meals that match the dietary needs of your whole family, which can be difficult if you have a picky toddler or a child with allergies.
Alternatively, you can order ready-to-make meals from various meal services. These meals have perfectly measured raw ingredients ready for you to turn into a nutritious meal, cutting down on your prep time and taking the pressure of coming up with creative meals off of you. These are a great way to spice up your meal plan and try new recipes.
Get Your Family Involved
Meal planning does not have to be solely your responsibility. You can get your kids involved, too. A toddler can help wash and cut certain softer vegetables, like peppers. They can also help you plan out which meals they want to eat for the week by selecting meals with you off of a meal list. Getting your toddler involved can help reduce stress around meal planning and meal prep.
Planning meals when you have young children can get tedious. However, there are several resources to make the process easier and fun for the whole family.