3 Steps to Become a Master of Mealtime Preparedness
Now that it’s summer all three of my kids are out of school and that means a lot of running around and crazy days as we figure out this year’s routine!
This kind of chaos can often get in the way of eating healthy, especially if you leave something like making dinner up to the the last minute. It can be easy to end up ordering pizza, boiling up some boxed macaroni and cheese, or hitting the drive-thru when you’re pressed for time. While these kinds of dinner treats are sometimes a necessity (especially for kids!), you probably don’t want to feed your family that stuff every night. We all want to aim for healthy meals that the whole family can enjoy, without too much fat, salt, sugar, and preservatives.
So what’s the biggest secret to healthy meals for the whole family, even when you’re busy?
Prepping & planning ahead of time.
Mastering the art of meal prep can help you:
- Avoid running to the drive-thru morning, noon and night.
- Stay sane.
- Keep your whole family healthy.
- Reach your ideal shape!
I know that for me, one of the toughest meals of the day is dinner. Between work, school, and afternoon activities, it often gets thrown under the bus.
Here are my top 3 tips to help you get dinner on the table!
Plan Your Menu Weekly
Instead of feeling rushed and flustered to visit the grocery store every single day, designate one day of the week as your shopping day, and try to get all of the food for the week at one time. It might feel like the world’s most epic shopping trip, but trust me, it’s worth the effort! Once you’ve shopped for the week, you’re done, and you don’t need to waste time at the store for another 6 or 7 days.
But how do you know what to buy? You plan the whole week’s meals in advance.
Planning is key when it comes to weight loss. Instead of picking out a bunch of recipes that each have their own long shopping list of ingredients, pick a staple list of ingredients that you can mix and match to create a variety of dinners for this week. Use your list of staple ingredients as your grocery list.
For example, you might plan two or three meals during the week that involve brown rice, and the others dinners that week might include potatoes as your carb. You might decide you want to switch off between chicken and salmon as your protein. For veggies, you can choose a variety of vegetables that you like or that are in season, and prepare them differently for each dinner to add variety. Steam, sauté, roast, broil, and grill!
This method will not only save you time, it will save you so much money. How? Because you’ll end up using all of your ingredients instead of having some of them go to waste. When you plan out your meals, you only buy what you need, and then you eat what you buy. This method also gives you the opportunity to buy things in bulk, especially if you have a large family! That big package of chicken breasts will be cheaper per pound than a tiny package that serves you for just one meal.
If this sounds like too much work, you can always make your life even simpler by getting your copy of IdealPlan. In IdealPlan, you’ll get personalized meal plans plus tons of recipes to help you lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. All you have to do is go shopping. And best of all, most of the recipes are totally family-friendly!
Prep Your Ingredients
If you want to get ahead of the game, take one day of the week–maybe the same day you go shopping–and prepare some of your dinner ingredients ahead of time. Marinate meats, chop vegetables, assemble casseroles and breakfast sandwiches, and get your lunches all packed up if you work outside the home.
I do all of my meal preparation on Sundays because I’m not as busy running errands that day. The kids can even help!
On your preparation day you can even pre-cook certain elements of your meals! If you have meal elements that need to cook for a long time or that can be made in one big batch for re-heating, go for it on your meal prep day. For instance, you might make all of the brown rice you need for the week, or assemble all of the salads for the family at one time. If you use a slow cooker for some meals, you can put everything for your slow cooker meal in a big ziplock bag and stick it in the fridge! This is a huge time-saver, because all of you have to do is dump the meal into the slow cooker one morning later that week.
You might also think about cooking your proteins, like chicken, ahead of time, especially the proteins for your lunches. They will have to be re-heated at work anyway!
Don’t get overwhelmed, though. If you’re not a big cooker, you might be feeling a little dazed right about now! But you don’t need to cook everything on your preparation day. Just do what you have time for. If the one thing that will make your life easier is pre-chopping your veggies, then just do that!
Heat and Eat
If you’ve done a good job with Steps 1 and 2, all you’ve got to do for Step 3 is heat and eat! Following through with your healthy eating plan becomes a lot easier when it doesn’t require all of your effort and willpower. If you follow these 3 steps, it will feel like the work was done for you!
In IdealPlan, all of the work really is done for you. It’s a complete weight loss and healthy lifestyle plan to help you reach your ideal shape in the easiest, healthiest, most sustainable way possible. I helped formulate IdealPlan with busy families just like mine in mind. IdealPlan is made to fit right into even your most hectic days!