Keeping kids fed can be a daunting task even for stay at home moms. If you have to go to work and make meals for your family, it can easily turn into an organizational nightmare and make you forgo sleep in order to accomplish your daily routine. It is no wonder that many moms just give up and feed their children junk food from McDonald’s and other similar restaurants. Not only it is detrimental to the kids’ health and growth, but the money you spend on such meals quickly adds up and become quite a drain on your home budget.
Here are some tips on how to keep your meal planning simple and achievable, while remaining sane at the process.
1. Healthy Snacks for Hungry Kids
Kids love snacks. There is something irresistible to them about eating between meals and you can’t fight it, so you might as well use it to your advantage. There are plenty of recipes online about home-made snacks that are both healthy and cheap to make and your kids will love them.
2. Lunchbox Ideas and Inspiration
Prepping lunchbox for your kids isn’t always a happy task, but sometimes you don’t have any choice in the matter. As long as you have to do it, might as well do it right. It may be a good idea to include them in the process and use the opportunity to explain why you chose that particular food. It is never too early to start educating them about the nutritional value of food and why it is important to watch their diet. Oh, and always put a little note in there. If you don’t have time for something elaborate, a simple I love you will do the trick just fine.
3. School day dinners
Weekdays often mean that there isn’t enough time for proper dinner preparation. Fortunately, there are a few tips that will make it easier and less time-consuming at the same time. First, get a slow cooker. Let it do all the heavy lifting, without the need for constant supervision. Another good idea is to make the dinner a buffet one, with readily made tacos ingredients, which you can make in advance. Finally, there is always an option of a sandwich night, if everything else fails.
4. Meal Plan Theme Nights
Everything that makes you spend more time on meal preparation and less on wondering what to cook is a welcomed idea. Adding a theme night once or twice a week can help you avoid the decision and make the dinner more fun for everyone involved.
5. Early dinner preparation
Doing at least a part of dinner preparation in advance can make a real difference in your day. Instead of leaving everything for when you come back from work, see how much work you can do the night before or even in the morning before you leave for work, like chopping vegetables.
6. Leftovers can be saviors
Americans throw away between 25 and 40 percent of the food they buy. That is a lot of food that goes to waste. Not only that, but all the effort and energy spent on preparation also goes into the trash when you throw away food. Instead, combine them into a full meal for your family. Just be careful of the expiration dates.
7. Big dinner
Every once and a while, you will be cornered into a situation that you have to make a big dinner, either for friends or family. Don’t panic, the situation can be solved if you follow these tips. First, keep the menu simple. Nothing too fancy, instead focus on the quality of the food. Secondly, make sure you have enough food. Even the best dish you make can ruin a dinner if the guests leave hungry. Finally, learn to delegate. Both kids and hubby can help a lot if you organize them properly.
8. One in Three
There is no law that says dinner has to be different each night. At least once a week, cook a dinner that will last you three days. Imagine how much time you will save if you have dinner prepared two nights during the week.
9. Healthy meals into happy meals
Kids can make such a fuss over any healthy snack you prepare and those tantrums usually end up in tears for all parties involved. That is why it is important to nip such behavior in a bud and use your cunning. You can’t really do anything about the taste of broccoli, but you can do a lot about its visual appearance. You can use your imagination or tools like Meta Nutrition, and as long as you come up with something unusual, your kids won’t question it but take it as a challenge to eat it.
10.Homemade Junk Food
Not a very popular idea, but hear me out first before you reach for a spatula. Junk food is junk because of the way it is prepared. You can make a perfectly healthy burger and fries and your kids will love them. The same goes for tacos and other food we usually associated with junk.