With so many things going on during the day (and night), family meal planning can be a hassle sometimes. Here are some tips.
Mealtime can be one of the hardest parts of motherhood, and there are many reasons for that. Mom may have a picky eater, or two, on her hands that refuse to eat anything she makes. Mom is also incredibly busy, and making a nutritious meal every night can feel taxing. While mom may want to reach for the frozen dinner, or take-out, she also wants to make sure her family is eating healthy and nutritious meals, but it can be hard. It can be hard to find the energy and the motivation to make these meals.
A big part of that is the prep that needs to be done. If we take away the time it takes to cook the food, that is only a small fraction of what it takes to make a homemade meal. Mom has to chop all the vegetables, clean everything and then mash, blend or do whatever the recipe calls for. It can be hard to find recipes when meal planning doesn’t call for at least 30 extra steps, and moms don’t always have time for that. However, there are some solutions to this problem that can get a homemade meal on the table with little to no prep at all.
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When it comes to motherhood, there is always going to be some planning to do, and meal planning is no different. When it comes to making sure you are planning meals that don’t have a lot of prep, you want to make sure you are stocking up on the right kind of ingredients.
According to Healthline, when you are doing groceries, think about items that are no-prep that you can stock up on for meals. This could be anything like a rotisserie chicken, that you can shred and freeze, turkey burgers, frozen vegetables, frozen gnocchi, and bagged greens. These items will last a while, and they are easy to just pull out and throw in the oven, etc.
If there are meals you want to make that absolutely require some prep, because we are all going to run into those situations, there is a way to help ease this burden. Mom can set aside a couple of hours on a weekend, and do all the chopping for her recipes for the week. All mom needs to do is wash everything, chop it up, and put it in Tupperware containers. That way when she goes to make dinner, it is already, and she just needs to add it all together.
This can go for casseroles and meat as well, things that mom can throw in the freezer and just thaw out when she needs them (these types of meals are perfect for a slow cooker).
This one may not be for everyone, and it may cost a bit more money, but it may be worth the work it will save for mom, especially if she has a busy week coming up. According to Eating Well, grocery stores will usually carry prepped vegetables that are already sliced, they will also carry sauces that are already made and even salads. These items are great to add to dinners, and they take up little to no extra time in the kitchen.
When looking for meat, look for meat that is already marinated or spiced in some way, this is a great way to save some time in the kitchen.
When you have meals that have a bit of prep, think of soup or chili, plan to make a double batch. According to Healthyfully Rooted Home, whenever you are planning a meal or making dinner, plan to double the batch and this can serve two purposes. It can either be used to give lunch the next day, or the second portion can be placed in the freezer for another dinner. This is a great way to make sure if you have to do work, you are only doing it once, but are getting two meals out of it.
The mom guilt can often set in when mom pulls something else out of the freezer for dinner, however, not all frozen meals are created equally. There are definitely some healthy options that come in the freezer, and these can be the go-to meals for a busy mom who does not have time to prep.
Mom may need to just spend a little extra time in the freezer section reading labels to find the right ones, but when she does, they can be a lifesaver.
Sources: Healthline, Eating Well, Healthfully Rooted Home