Trying to balance looking after the kids, work and other commitments can be a challenge. However, when it comes to cooking, there are plenty of meal planning tips that can allow you to cut corners, freeing up time to spend with your family. Here are just a few meal planning tips for busy parents.
Set Aside Time
When it comes to meal planning, all you need to do is set aside a few minutes of your time. The thought of meal prepping can be overwhelming, however, spending a few minutes at the beginning of the week before you go grocery shopping to get your head around what you’ll cook for dinner can make all the difference and reduce your stress levels. When you are doing your plan, bear in mind any dietary considerations that you or your family have – maybe someone is on the keto diet, which promises to help you get satisfying weight loss results within 30 days. Perhaps someone doesn’t eat meat or has to follow a gluten-free diet. Look at ways you can create a meal that the whole family can eat together.
Keep Track of Meals That Work
The chances are you’ve prepped and cooked more meals than you care to remember. However, thinking about what meals have gone down well with the kids can ensure you serve the right dishes and avoid any time wasting. Make sure to note down any recipes that are family favorites and simple to cook, which will mean you do not have to plan new meals each week. What’s more, once you get into a routine and create a rota of meals, you will feel more confident in your cooking abilities.
Ask for Help
If you are having trouble with meal planning and need a helping hand, be sure to reach out to your partner or kids who may be able to assist you (depending on age). Getting the whole family involved can make meal planning more enjoyable. Also, taking everyone’s opinions and ideas into account can be incredibly beneficial and ensure the meals you make are well suited to everybody’s taste buds. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work, so getting all your family involved can be a fantastic bonding experience, bringing you all closer together.
Spice Things Up
There are all sorts of ways on how you can spice things up in the kitchen, keeping meals exciting and delicious for you and your family. When creating your meal plan, why not add a theme for the day to keep things fresh? Whether it be pizza Fridays or taco Tuesdays, giving your kids something to look forward to can add that excitement you’re looking for. Having themes in place can provide structure for you and your family.
Cook in bulk to save time
It’s a good idea to cook in bulk when you can. This means, whenever you’re cooking a basic meal, make more than what is required. Any leftovers that you have can be stored in the fridge or freezer to be used another night. Bulk cooking can save you a huge amount of time and will mean that you’re not slaving over the stove each day. Also, be aware of what types of meals you plan to put in the fridge or freezer. If you’re storing meals in the fridge, ensure that you use up any leftovers within two days to avoid food poisoning. Any leftovers you have should be stored and sealed in Tupperware and clearly labeled.
If you haven’t got any recipe books in your kitchen, you’re missing out on some fantastic, delicious and most importantly, quick recipes that can be made in a matter of minutes. There are also plenty of websites that can provide you with some exciting and quick family recipes that you can incorporate into your cooking, keeping things fresh and exciting. As a busy parent, you may dread the idea of having to cook for the family, especially if you’ve had a long day at work. However, as many recipes can be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes, this can mean you have more time to spend with your loved ones
Meal planning should never feel like a chore. There are all sorts of ways to bring a bit of excitement into the kitchen, making the experience an enjoyable one rather than a chore. Even the busiest of parents can take any of the tips above listed on board to save valuable time which can be better spent.