If you are a parent, you have probably had many moments where you have dreaded that question. "Mom, what's for supper?" Thinking up something for 3 meals a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for 18 years per child???? Whew! Exhausting!
As I'm journeying on the road to better health, one thing that I've learned is that planning is key. If we don't plan ahead, it's easy to chose things that are simple and unhealthy (processed foods). I've come up with a few battle strategies to help combat this tendency in our family, and I thought I'd share them with you today:
#1 Plan Your Menu for the Week
Menu is Key. My grandma, whenever I talk with her, by phone or in person always asks in the course of our conversation in the morning, "What will you be making your family for dinner tonight?" I love that because this woman has some serious experience! She raised 5 boys on a shoestring budget, and still is a meticulous menu planner. She drilled into me the importance of planning ahead to succeed, so every Saturday or Sunday I plan the menu for the week.
#2 Grocery Shop for Success
Shop for success. Don't go to the grocery store hungry. Make a list. Send your spouse. (Ok I had to put this in because team work can make a big difference, plus they won't buy all the extra stuff you might have!) Stick to the outside of the store where the fresh foods are kept. Buy whole foods not processed. Here's an excellent healthy, whole foods grocery shopping list!
#3 Consider the Busy Days of the Week
Consider the busy days. We can't all make 4 course meals every night! So on those evenings where there's soccer, ballet, swimming, and ski club, make allowances! Maybe that can be your salad bar night. Buy lots of exciting things to go into your salad, and let the kids pick. If you want to "make" something, get some olive oil, specialty vinegar, and herbs and DIY your salad dressing. Or, if that's too complicated, don't go running to Lunchables! Try making a smoothie and some fresh popcorn- these are a great portable dinner that don't have gluten or preservatives!
#4 Prepare and Cook Ahead Where You Can
Cook ahead. I do my cooking/prepping for the week every Sunday evening. There are ways you can cook up your meat, slice your veggies, and prep for those packed lunches before hand. I find I almost always can cook meats or veggies for 2 meals at once doing it that way. It's much easier to not make the mess 7 times in a week that preparation takes for each meal.
#5 Soup is Always a Good Thing
Make a pot of soup! I know this might sound funny, but you can always count on some sort of home made soup in the fridge at our house. We keep soup in the fridge for those times when one kid has to be somewhere, and meal time is going to be messed up. If it's still around on Sunday, it's our after church meal, along with a salad and maybe even some biscuits if we're lucky!
Remember, just about anything you make at home, be it super simple or extravagant will be much fresher and healthier than processed foods or eating out. So try it, and see if your life and health improve! For more great tips on super food cooking and tips, keep watching for the rest of this blog series.