With a busy lifestyle, one of the first things to go the ‘fast’ route is usually meal time. This is apparent by the number of fast food restaurants on every corner. What is a parent to do when work has ended, the children are picked up and you have 30 minutes before T-ball practice (which overlaps with ballet lessons)?
There is no one way to handle this dilemma that plagues most families with active lifestyles. However, here are a few good ideas to help with meal planning that will ultimately save time.
Healthy snacks: Purchase a small (but adequate) insulated bag. Put small baggies of bite size carrots, celery, etc. in the bag (one for each child). This is handy to keep in your car. Keep bananas handy and grab a couple as you’re walking out the door. Crackers, cheese and other healthy snack packs are all better than a fast food stop. Each morning, or night, make sure your stash of on-the-go snacks is replenished, and fresh.
Grocery List: Create a ‘grocery check list’ on your computer that you can easily print a few of. Most people buy the same thing over and over each week. Make a printed list of these recurring items. Leave room to hand write new items that you will need.
o Get the family involved. Hand your printed list to an older child and give them the responsibility of walking through the house and checking off items that you need.
Set meal planning time in your busy schedule: Make it family time as well and involve everyone. Thinking of what to serve is the hardest part. Get some opinions then make a list of the ingredients needed.
Meal planning teaches young children organization, healthy eating habits, creativity in choices, and let’s them speak up for themselves as to what they would like to have.
List all of your favorite meals on separate index cards along with ingredients & side dish options for that meal. Keep these in a rotating fashion. If you have 10 favorite meals, then you can keep rotating and you will have something different each night for 10 nights. Throw in some pizza nights, left over nights and out-to-eat nights, and you will have two+ weeks of different dinners, pre-planned!
“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our
attention to eating.”
~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story