Wow, it’s already August and summer is slowly coming to an end. This is the time of year in which a majority of parents are preparing to get ready for the upcoming school year and transition from summer mode into prep mode and getting the family ready for a new school year. This means meeting teachers, getting supply lists, getting new clothes for the school year, backpacks, getting kids back on schedule and into a normal routine. Yet, while you are so busy getting the kids ready for the upcoming year you can easily forget about getting you ready for the upcoming year and spending time establishing normal and healthy routines for yourself. This month, I’m creating a Back to School series that will focus on teaching you How to Create Healthy Routines. I want to give you some simple tips on how you can create healthy daily routines for your nutrition, fitness, and self-care that will help you keep your cool during this hectic time and not abandon your health and wellness. Today we are going to focus on how to save time and stay healthy with meal planning and meal prepping.
Become a Meal Plan & Meal Prep Pro
If you are a regular follower of mine I’m sure you will know why I am an advocate of planning a menu of meals for the week and having set days where you prep those meals. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. For starters, planning meals ahead and knowing exactly what you are going to prepare will make grocery shopping a breeze. You can get all the ingredients you need for your meals as well as snacks and lunches for the kids all in one trip. Planning your meals in advance also eliminates the hassle of trying to decide what you’re going to eat each day. Lastly, when you plan ahead it can help you to build nutritious meals that fall in line with your health and wellness goals.
Meal planning is even better when you combine it with meal prepping. Preparing the meals you’re going to eat in advance will decrease the amount of time you spend in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up during the week giving you more time to relax. Prepping meals also decreases the temptation to go out and eat, this is not only beneficial for your health but your budget as well.
How To Implement Meal Planning
Tip #1. Choose a set time to plan meals
To plan meals effectively you want to make sure that you set aside time to plan meals for the week.
Tip #2. Involve the family
Make it a family affair and involve everyone so that they can have a say on a couple of meals too. Even assigning specific days to specific family members. This can make the meal planning process more fun and take a lot of stress off of you.
Tip #3. Don’t get fancy
Taking the time to make sure you are choosing simple easy to make meals instead of culinary masterpieces will go a long way. You can save the more experimental dishes for the weekends but stick to the quick, tasty, and easy to make. For example, stick to something simple like breakfast tacos. You can create a bulk amount of these and freeze them until ready to consume. Even creating smoothie packs that can be easily frozen with the fruits you need to create the smoothie.
Tip #4. Make a list and check it twice
Once you have created a menu for the week do a run through in the kitchen to see what items you need and create your grocery list. Certain ingredients for recipes you may not need to purchase again depending on how much of that ingredient you have.
Tip #5. Efficient Grocery Shopping
Depending on where you live you may be able to choose to have your groceries delivered or go pick up your groceries. This does involve a small fee but can definitely be a lifesaver especially with a busy schedule. Checking with your local grocery store to see if an option like this is available for you can save some major time and stress.
If you grocery delivery isn’t available for you or you just prefer traditional grocery shopping focusing exclusively on what you have on your list and shopping the perimeter of the store first before moving into the aisles can make your trip more efficient. Also sticking to a grocery store that you know the layout and are familiar with will also decrease the amount of time spent shopping because you know exactly where you need to go to get specific items.
How to Meal Prep Like A Champ
Tip #1. Choose Your Meal Prep Days in Advance
When it comes to prepping meals for families it can be an overwhelming task to prep meals for the entire week. Instead, choose to prepare meals 2 times a week. Assign two days out of the week where you will prep meals and snacks.
Tip #2. Get the Family Involved
Assigning tasks to your kiddos and spouse will also help with efficiency and make it a wonderful family activity.
Tip #3. Organize and Prepare Ingredients Beforehand
Another helpful tip you can use to make meal prep days more efficient is to pre-cut ingredients that you will need on meal prep day, or measuring out spices that you will need and putting them in containers for meal prep day. This may require a little extra time when you get your groceries to spend time going through the ingredients and preparing them but will go a long way on meal prep day.
Tip #4. Purchase meal prep containers
There are tons of storage containers that you can use to store the meals you create where they are easy to grab and reheat for each individual. I do recommend investing in glass prep containers but this may not be practical with younger kids so making sure if you do choose plastic meal prep containers that they are BPA free.
Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor
When you plan ahead you are better able to spend time doing things that you enjoy such as enjoying quality time with your family or just taking some time to relax and catch up on your favorite shows.