So what is a mom to do when she knows she should be planning better and offering healthier choices to her family, all while looking to fit into her skinny jeans? Simply, be prepared.
Confession: I do not plan out every meal. There. I said it. Yes, I am a meal planner but at home I have obstacles and my family can be rather finicky.
It can be frustrating but I have learned to realize that I meal plan for the masses when I am working for Super Healthy Kids. Many of our members join because they are starting from square one. Some have younger children and those children begin eating in ways that some of us can only dream that our children will.
There are even some members who are caregivers and see positive outcomes themselves. There was a grandmother who wrote to us one time saying that by being prepared, SHE was eating healthier and losing weight that SHE hadn’t been able to before.
What can a busy mom do?
If you are a podcast supporter and listener, you may be happy to hear that I have joined forces with a good friend and fellow registered dietitian, Tiffany Ricci, RDN. We are going to be launching our podcast in September and it is a way for us to take the science behind nutrition and our listeners to apply it in real life.
(BIG EDIT: As of December 2019, I finally launched the podcast as a solo podcaster with guests. I do have some of those episodes I had recorded with Tiffany so I hope you listen in!)
We have been recording for a few weeks now and it has been loads of fun. Just today we had our first guests, Amy and Natalie, of Super Healthy Kids. Yes, I am an active part of their team and know a lot of the behind the scenes, so-to-speak, of meal planning but having them on today was a continuation of our previous podcast about meal planning.
You see, Tiffany is going to be a new mother. She and her hubby have been blessed with the adoption of a little boy! She and I have talked about meal planning before. She expressed the need to get organized with her meal planning in order to feel more in control to ensure she is offering her son a variety of healthy foods.
How can a new mom meal plan?
This sparked our conversations towards a fun way of not only getting Tiffany and her family off on the right foot but to help our listeners and followers implement a healthier way to meal plan.
Yes, it is true, meal planning can be difficult, it can be boring or even frustrating…that is if you MAKE it that way. My personal meal planning began by taking a piece of paper out and labeling what we would eat for a few meals throughout the week.
I never planned breakfast or lunch, only dinners. In the beginning, it was just my husband and I and we had lunch away from home since we both worked in an office. Breakfast was almost always the same: eggs and oatmeal. Well, eggs for him, and oatmeal for me but there wasn’t any “planning” for that.
Once we were blessed with the birth of our children, that had to change. It especially changed while I was going through college because I was learning all about the importance of fresh being best and how to add more color to your plate.
Like yourself, I too want to be able to serve healthy choices to my family while being sure they are being served what they like and what my scale likes. Hey, I may have the credentials but that doesn’t mean I hold a magic wand. I too have to watch what goes into mouth. Your best line of defense is to simply be prepared.
How do I meal plan?
1. Check your schedule.
By this I mean you need to really look at your week ahead. What sporting events are planned? Are there any days you may run late at a meeting? Is everyone going to be home? (My husband travels a lot so that is a big factor in my planning). Will there be visitors? Give yourself a good overview of your week.
2. Get it prepped.
Once you have bought the food get it ready for the week ahead. One thing that I have been doing lately is purchasing pre-cut veggies. My husband loves his omelets with diced veggies and rather than take the time to do this, I have found it is just as cost effective to buy them pre-diced.
Another thing I do is to prep the kids raw veggies that are going to be packed in their lunch boxes. Sometimes prepping can also mean cooking extra chicken or grains. Trust me, it makes for such an easy dinner to toss together and quickly saute in a pan with fresh veggies.
3. Go non-traditional.
Simply put: You do not have to eat dinner for dinner, it is okay to eat breakfast for dinner. Yes, I plan at least one dinner a week that is a traditional breakfast meal. Sometimes it is more than one time, especially during school and when my husband is not at home.
When breakfast is for dinner, we follow the same rules as any other meal planned by having fruit and veggies. We love to serve them with my homemade pancakes or homemade cereal. With this type of planning, you can even make more pancakes one morning and freeze them for that specific day that you will be serving breakfast for dinner. Reheat the pancakes, grab the precut raw veggies, your favorite fruit and dinner is done!
What is a good vegetarian meal prep idea?
Ok, so you’re probably wondering what this colorful vegetarian dish is, right? It is so incredibly simple and is truly one of my favorite lunches or dinner on meatless Monday. Sticking with my plans of having pre-cut everything, I can throw this together in 5 minutes. It can also be gluten-free by purchasing gluten-free Naan bread. (I bought mine from Whole Foods). My Boston leaf lettuce came from my own garden. The lettuce that grows from my Tower Garden is so light and fluffy, it seems to melt in your mouth. Yum!
Vegan Naan Veggie Plate
- 1 cup Boston leaf lettuce
- 1 each Naan bread (or pita)
- ½ cup hummus
- ½ medium tomato (diced)
- ½ medium red bell pepper (diced)
- ½ medium yellow bell pepper (diced)
- ½ medium orange bell pepper (diced)
- 1 each green onion (sliced greens only)
- ¼ cup raspberries
Lay out lettuce leaves on a plate and top with Naan bread. Spread with hummus. Top with diced veggies and garnish with raspberries.