As 2023 approaches, many of us are looking into getting ourselves and our families into better health habits. When you have kids, you’ll find that you become entirely responsible for their wellbeing and this means ensuring that various elements of their lives line up to build their strength and health. Diet plays a big role in this. All too often, we find ourselves leaning on convenience foods, fast foods, takeaways and ready meals in a bid to feed everyone around other tasks and responsibilities. But we’re also aware that this isn’t the best option. These foods don’t generally contain the vitamins and minerals our family need to thrive. This is where meal planning and prepping can come to the rescue. Here are a few suggestions that will help with this.
The first step on this journey is meal planning. This is when you decide what meals you’re going to have for the week ahead. It allows you to purchase the right ingredients and benefits you in a number of ways. You can plan meals to ensure that every element of every ingredient is used – if you use half an onion one day, you can choose a dish later in the week that will use the other half of the onion. This helps to save a lot of money. But perhaps more importantly, it gives you more control over what you’re putting in your body. When you set out your meals for your family for the week on paper, or in a spreadsheet, or whatever other way you like to organise your meal plan, you can make sure that the meals are really balanced. You can see that everyone’s getting their five a day. You can check protein, healthy fats, oils, more. Start by looking up healthy meals. There are plenty of recipes online, ranging from quinoa salad to Buddha bowls, sushi dishes, pasta dishes. Eventually, you’ll know what works for you and your family and create more of a routine of repeated dishes.
Next, meal prepping. This is when you actually prepare elements of your meals in advance of the date or time you’re actually going to cook them. When you meal prep, you reduce your chances of falling back on convenience foods. Instead, you can create healthy and wholesome meals with minimal effort, even after a long day of work, doing the school run or keeping up with other commitments. Elements of meal prepping can include marinating fish or meat, washing and chopping vegetables, defrosting frozen ingredients, weighing out ingredients, slow cooking elements of the meal and more. Generally, it’s best to invest in plenty of Tupperware or other forms of storage that can be refrigerated or frozen to make the most of meal prepping. Prepared foods can be kept refrigerated for between 2 – 5 days or frozen for 3 – 4 months.
These are the first steps of meal planning and prepping – and each should help you and your family to keep on top of eating healthy meals on a routine basis. Sure, takeaways are fine once in a while, but this is a much preferable alternative for regular, day to day eating.