Healthy Meal Planning Tips for Busy Families
Summer is over and it’s back to school time once again. Between school, work, after-school activities, and your regular exercise program, it often seems there’s little or no time for meal prepping or making a healthy dinner. In fact, with minimal free time and so many other priorities in your schedule, spending time to plan healthy meals for your family can be a real challenge.
Yet, preparing meals at home is not only good for your health, but also for your wallet, and most people readily acknowledge the benefits of eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight. Eating healthful food can prevent disease, improve your appearance, and increase your energy, helping you to perform optimally throughout the day.
Additionally, evening meals are important times for families. They provide an opportunity to teach your children and to set an example by establishing healthy habits. If these aren’t reason enough, remember that eating healthier can boost your mood, help with better brain function, assist you with sleeping better and handling stress better, boost your immune system, and reduce associated health risks.
A few simple steps can help busy families make meal planning simpler. Plan a weekly menu that includes meals everyone will eat. Don’t try to be a short order cook. In fact, several apps and sites are available with ready prepared menu plans if you don’t want to spend the time to create your own. Then, keep track of the weeks that work well to recycle for future weeks.
After deciding on the weekly menu, make a detailed grocery list. Try to stick to the plan although substitutions can be made if certain items are unavailable. Try to plan a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to prevent boredom and increase nutritional benefits.
Whenever possible, cook extra. If you cook chicken on Sunday, cook extra to add to salad or put in a whole grain tortilla for lunch on Monday. Prepare overnight oatmeal or chia cups for breakfast the night before. Make large batches of soups or chili and put extra in freezer to reheat for especially busy evenings.
Most important, regardless of how many activities you schedule for you and your children, make sure you schedule time for yourself. The key is to always keep your fitness goals foremost in your thoughts and make time for what matters most.
Pivotal Fitness can help you with your fitness goals, with our wide range of classes, offered at a variety of convenient times. For more information please check out our class schedule at www.pivotalfitness.com.