Easy Tips for Meal Planning and Prepping for Busy Families

As a Dietitian you think I would have it all together with planning and prepping healthy meals for my family. But honestly, it can be a struggle for me as well. I get the hustle and bustle of everyday life and planning meals out along with a grocery list of foods can be difficult. This is also one of the main things I heard from people I work with, how to create a list of healthy meals and all the ingredients. After researching the topic, talking with other busy moms and doing some self discovery I came up with a helpful list of things that any busy person could master. Yes, even you!


1. Weekly meals -

It is great to have some sort of record of your families favorite meals. ( This step is possibly the most time-consuming, but it can be completed over time) You can store these meals and a list of the ingredients in a binder, folder, note pad on your phone, email document, excel spreadsheet, or simply create a Pinterest board with your families favorite recipes, like mine here.

The goal for this is to have some staple family favorites you can rotate each week. Pick about 3/4 of these recipes, then add in 2 new recipes leaving one night for leftovers or a night out.

2. Mastering Food Prep -

It’s pretty main stream that food prep is done on Sundays. For most working families this is true. However, are you like most working families? Not all of us are. What I would suggest is finding a day to do some prep that works best for YOU. It might be Tuesday morning when the kids are at school and your toddler is napping. Or it might be Wednesday night when you have use of some extra hands. Just find a day that works best for you. You can even break the prep into more than one day. ( I often do this). Cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker. You will have meat for multiple meals and stock for soup ( or to freeze for a later time). While the chicken is cooking, chop some veggies to roast and put together some quick overnight oat jars. Just because you can’t get it all done in one day or a certain day doesn’t mean you should try to find a system that works best for you.

3. Plan with Purpose-

Plan your meals based on using main proteins more than once. Like I mentioned in the last point, that you can cook for more than one day dinner. Make a chicken, roast, pork loin and use it for several recipes, not just one. By being creative with the recipes, it wont be boring to have chicken two days in a row.

Easy foods to meal prep -

A running list of foods might be like this

- Hard boiled eggs

- Roasted veggies ( bell peppers, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, etc)

- Chopped veggies for snacking

- Shredded chicken, pork, turkey

- Fish

- legumes ( great to add in salads)

- roasted nuts

- sauces like tomato or a “cheese” squash sauce


Final tips -

* overlap ingredients

* take inventory of your house before making list

* see what everyone is in the mood for

* Other apps for keeping track of meals Evernote, Paprika, or Plan to eat

What about you, what is your method for meal planning?

Cheers to Healthy Living,

Priscilla Marie, MS, RD

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