Hi Everyone, how was your summer? Summer isn’t over, but it is time to adjust as children go back to school and schedules, lots of them, are making an appearance. This blog will provide tips to make mealtime less stressful, meal planning ideas, and how to get it all done in less time! Read on:
Let’s start with some tips that are useful year-round:
- Plan a menu for the week. Print out a convenient grocery list from www.MyPlate.gov: https://myplate-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/2020-12/Create%20a%20Grocery%20Game%20Plan_Grocery%20List.pdf
- Find a quiet time, check out what you have in your pantry, grab a pen, pull the grocery store flyers from the mail, and develop a meal plan.
- Leftovers are your friend! Roast a chicken one night and have tacos the next.
- Double the recipe and freeze half. You’ve already got a dinner for next week.
- Cook a bag of dried beans and use half for dinner one night and freeze the rest. Follow the instructions on the back of the package.
Take the stress out and put the fun in mealtimes!
- When you get home and before you start cooking spend a few minutes with the family. Go for a short walk, put on some music and dance, or shoot some hoops. Make a transition that allows you to go from returning from school and work to meal prep.
- Include the whole family at every age! Whether they are washing fruits and vegetables as a preschooler or making dinner as a teen getting their help will foster healthy habits for a lifetime.
- Have a theme night like Taco Tuesday or Meatless Monday. Everyone will know what to expect and they have something to look forward to.
- Have a routine: eat at the same time, as one another, shut off electronics, and have somebody share something about their day.
- While you want routine sometimes you want to try something new. When trying new foods be sure to include some favorites. That way, if somebody doesn’t want to try something or doesn’t like it, they have something they do like. Never force anybody to eat something.
Simple, healthy, and budget-friendly dinners:
Can we have it all? Simple meals that are healthy and easy on our budgets too? Yes, we can. In fact, it’s easier than ever! One of our partners, Cooking Matters, has developed recipe frameworks that provide an outline to make a healthy dinner for *your* family. Read on:
Let’s start with the Grain Bowl. You select your grain (or maybe it’s time for the kids to decide?), choose the vegetables, your choice of protein (whether its ground turkey, tofu, or eggs, they’re all great choices), choose your sauce, and perhaps some optional toppings and dinner is served! Click on the link here for the details.
Or maybe you’re interested in tacos? Consider me in! Even the pickiest eater can find what they want when they build their own taco. Use that leftover chicken here or open a can of salmon. Add grated carrots, chopped lettuce, or diced cucumbers; they’re all delicious. Click on the link here for the details.
But maybe it’s breakfast for dinner tonight? We’ve got you covered with Cooking Matter’s Omelet Recipe Framework. Those eggs make a terrific vehicle for the leftover peas you had for dinner a few nights ago. And that turkey sausage would be delicious in an omelet. Find out more suggestions here.
There are more resources and recipes for meal prep for dinner and beyond. Check out our sites: mahealthyfoodsinasnap.org and myplate.gov for more suggestions.
Most importantly, it’s the beginning of the school year, make sure to give yourself and everyone in your household some time to settle into their new routines. Keep it simple and enjoy being at the table with your family. Sharing meals together will build lasting relationships and a healthier lifestyle.
As always, thanks for stopping by. We enjoy the company. Happy cooking!