Three Meal Planning Tips for the Busy Family
As an aware and health-conscious person, you’re already doing a lot to protect your health by enjoying more nutrient-dense foods and avoiding the added sugar, fake fats and harmful chemicals found in most processed foods. You and your family might even follow specific dietary regimen that works best for you.
Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, it can still be a big challenge to consistently follow a weekly meal plan – and that goes for even the most organized home cook. With jobs, kids, travel and life’s other demands, it is all too easy to deviate from a weekly meal plan, or fail to make one in the first place.
The result? We succumb to the temptation of unhealthy convenience foods. Or we rely on the same boring go-to meals, week after week. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
With a little forethought, you can prevent dietary pitfalls, while cooking exciting new recipes and getting more diversity in your diet.
Here are three easy-to-follow tips to help you create a flexible, healthy meal plan – without adding a lot of time to your already busy schedule.
Meal Plan Tip #1: Cook Once, Eat Three Unique Meals
We often we think of leftovers as a carbon copy of the meal we ate the day before. But it doesn’t have to be. You can completely transform your previous meal into something entirely new. The key is to choose large cuts of meat and use simple spices that will lend themselves to a variety of cuisines.
Here are a few quick ideas:
• Pork Sirloin/Shoulder Roast: Roast pork sirloin or shoulder with a simple marinade of salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice and avocado oil. The first meal can be traditional Pork Roast, served with a side of sweet potatoes and greens. The next several nights can include Pork Carnitas (break cooked pork into chunks and sauté in duck fat)… a Green Coconut Curry with Pork… or a Southern-Style Pork Barbecue with fresh cabbage slaw and Paleo “Cornbread”.
• Whole Chicken: Using the same simple marinade from above, cook a whole chicken in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. From there, the possibilities are endless. Cobb Salad with pulled or chopped Chicken, Quick Chicken Soup with Zucchini Noodles, Chicken and Mushroom Sauté, Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Asian Dipping Sauce.
• Grass-Fed Beef Roast: Choose your favorite grass-fed roast – Eye of Round, Chuck Roast or Bottom Round – and prepare simply. Transform your leftovers into Thai Beef Salad, Chinese Beef & Broccoli or Paleo Tacos.
Meal Plan Tip #2: Have Go-To Meals at the Ready
Life can be unpredictable. Some days you arrive home later than usual, with hungry mouths to feed and nothing at the ready. Worse yet, the family chef may come down with the flu leaving the non-cooking parent at a loss for what to make.
In these cases, having meals fully prepared for your family in advance can save time and stress.
Make some of your favorite freezer-friendly meals in larger quantities for cases like these. And to prevent “freezer forgetfulness” (what IS in there anyway?), keep a running tally of your pre-prepared meals with their dates posted on the fridge or in a kitchen drawer.
Soups, stews and slow-cooked or pressure-cooked meats with their broths make great ready-meals. Also be sure to try US Wellness Meats pre-prepared foods like BBQ Shortribs, Shredded Beef, Pot Roast and Gravy, Sugar-Free Beef Franks and Italian Beef Sausage.
Having these healthy and delicious quick fixes on hand will help the cook in the family rest easy – no matter what life throws in the way!
Meal Plan Tip #3: Prep Ahead and Cook in Bulk
Enjoying a hot Paleo breakfast doesn’t have to mean pulling out the cast-iron skillet every morning. Prepare your staples in advance for the week ahead for a fuss-free pre-work (or school) breakfast.
Cook a batch of Sugar-Free Pork Bacon and Sausage and boil eggs to your desired temperature. Then simply warm the meat in the toaster oven and serve with pre-cooked eggs for a hot meal in minutes.
When it comes to meal plans, there are many benefits. Not only will you save money and time, but you’ll enjoy more variety in your meals and a greater diversity of nutrients to boot.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Have you found a meal planning strategy that works for you? Or do you prefer to “wing” it? If the perfect “done-for-you” meal planning program existed, what features would you most like to see? What benefits would be the most helpful?
EDITOR'S NOTE – Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads…