The holiday season is the time of year when people usually put on the most weight. Well, this can be solved with something very simple…Meal Planning! For all those busy moms like me you’re probably thinking “Meal planning? I don’t have time for that!” But I’m here to tell you that it totally is! Before I started meal planning I thought that same thing, but I knew that it would help us save money and eat better. When you are always on the go it’s very tempting to just run through a drive through in between things. The thing is though you end up spending tons more eating out and it’s not the healthiest thing to eat. So here is a “how to” for all those busy mamas thats want to save money and give their families healthy meals.
What it is Meal Planning: Taking time to plan out one week in advance, writing down exactly what you plan to cook on what days of the week. Sticking to this plan is key! Only plan for the meals you will actually cook and eat. We don’t want wasted food or money going down the drain!
How to Meal Plan: Think about the next week you and your family have ahead of you. What nights will you be away from the house to make it difficult to do prep ahead of time? What days will you have more time? What if you do NOT enjoy cooking at all, but need to be better at planning meal? Write down between 4-5 different meals your family enjoys. For example, Mondays & Thursdays are extremely busy days in our home, so I make sure to plan a healthy crockpot meal for those days. Easy Peasy! The other days I try to prepare more fresh, whole foods. If you need help with healthy family recipes click here and it will take you to tons of healthy recipes I use.
Actually plan and Prep your meals: Now that you have a list of meals you are planning to cook next week, write all the ingredients you will need to complete each meal. Some
things you already have in your pantry, while others you need to shop for. (I tend to double the recipe for some meals- like Taco Tuesday, to simply freeze and have on hand for a busy night the next week. Prep for one meal, and get TWO!
Time to Shop: Now this may be your first run at the grocery store with a list, bravo! Others may already be a pro at it. This will literally save you HUNDREDS! Your ONLY job is to shop from your list. Typically you will stay within the perimeter and avoid the middle (processed, high calorie, over priced food trap).
Time to cook: If there are any items you can chop, pre, pre-cook in advance to help the actual cooking go more smoothly, do it as soon as you get home from the grocery store. For example, the crock pot meals are simple to toss into a gallon freezer bag and put either in the fridge or freezer for later. However if Taco Tuesday is a busy night, go ahead an cook up your taco meat. One less thing to do on Tuesday! Throw some lettuce wrap or tortillas, chop a tomato and top with grated cheese to complete an easy & healthy meal.