Meals are what nourish your family and keep your loved ones healthy. It can get a little overwhelming especially if you are a busy working woman! But, if you plan well and in advance there is no reason why you cannot serve up hot and nutritious meals every day. Some handy pointers are that you should keep in mind the dietary needs of every member of the family. You can definitely not eat salads every day, or a rich three-course meal daily either.
The Do’s of meal planning
The obvious need of the hour is to keep in mind the daily needs of each family member. Diabetics or older people have different nutrition needs than a teenager. Keep your options open so that everyone has something of their choice. It need not be a mammoth task, and all you need to do is make a list that is comprehensive.
- It is a good idea to create a weekly menu for all meals. You can make a list on good old fashioned pen and paper, or use a computer. The planner can be a good way to spend a weekend morning as the family can pitch in with suggestions. You can search for recipes and add links to them on the planner itself. This could be easy once you have done it for a couple of weeks as you can keep adding a new item using the list as a guide. A little juggling will give you a weekly planner that is new every time!
- Make an exhaustive list of groceries, condiments, vegetables, meats, eggs and other things you might need to make a meal. It is easy to do the weekly shopping in one go so that you do not end up running out to get an item every time you remember it!
- Keep a few cheat days when you use the leftovers in the refrigerator. You can cut out wastage and end up with a clean fridge too. Schedule this meal for busy days, so that you can get other stuff done too.
- Keep a couple of meals that can be made by the other members of the family, so that you do not have to slave over a hot stove after a hard day at work. A single pot casserole can be a lifesaver. Alternatively, you can order out a couple of nights too. There is no guilt in that as you need some me-time too.
The Don’ts of weekly meal planning
The biggest No-No of meal planning is that you should not feel guilty about not being able to cope with hot and elaborate meals every time.
- Do not leave vegetable chopping to every meal prep time. You can chop up the ingredients in advance a couple of times a week so that you can get the cooking done in a jiffy.
- It is not a great idea to serve meals heavy on carbs or with the same food group too many times a week. You need to make a plan where all food groups are present in most meals.
- Do not get overwhelmed, as it is not as tough as it sounds. Once you get the groove going, the meal times get easier to manage.
Family meals should be made with all members pitching in. It is fun to shop, shop and cook together. Do not forget to get your partner and the kids to pitch in too!