When you meal prep, it isn’t just about making a list of groceries and being sure you get everything on that list. It takes having a solid plan, expecting the unexpected, and being realistic. This is a big part of meal prepping with intention, because you consider your family’s specific needs and know that sometimes things come up and your meals won’t always be perfect.
Start With a Plan
You should always have a good plan when you are meal prepping. For some people, they like to write down days they know they will be eating out and just plan the remaining days, while others are on a budget and want to use what they have in their fridge as much as possible in the meal plan.
Create a weekly habit where you go through the food you have, decide on meals with those ingredients, and make a list of what you need. This is a really easy way to start with healthy meal planning.
Use Ingredients That Cross Over Multiple Meals
To avoid getting bored, think of foods or ingredients that you can add to your meal plan that you are able to use for multiple types of meals.
For example, you might have veggies that you are using for a Sunday brunch when you make a quiche for breakfast, and use the leftover veggies in sandwiches or wraps throughout the week. You can use parmesan cheese for pizza, pasta, and even to top salads, and use leftover chicken for quesadillas and new types of casseroles.
Don’t Cook Too Many New Recipes at One Time
If you try to cook 5 brand new recipes in one week, you will probably get overwhelmed, and by day 3 or 4, be over cooking altogether. When you first get started with meal planning and meal prep, choose just 1-2 new recipes to try each week.
This allows you try new recipes and new foods for your healthy diet, but you can avoid becoming stressed or overwhelmed. It also ensures you are also cooking some meals that you already know your family enjoys.
Be Realistic With Your Own Needs and Preferences
It is great to use other meal plans people recommend, but if your family or relatives hate kale, why are you trying to make a kale salad with dinner one night? The great thing about meal planning is that it is easy to personalize to your own family’s preferences. Always start with foods you enjoy, and use those to create healthy meals. You can offer your family the foods you desire, but also give them alternatives. Understanding each family members specific needs is essential to keeping the family table nourished and at peace.