Healthy Meal Tips for the Family

I know you’ve seen those polls on social media that ask if you could have a house that cleans itself, a person who did all your grocery shopping, a million bucks, etc, what would you choose?

Okay, so in real life if I could, I would hire someone to do my meal prep, cooking and planning for my family. And I know I’m not alone, right?

For those of us who are short on time and desire healthy meals I think this is a true idea we may covet! It’s also true that this likely isn’t reality for many of us now or maybe ever, and that’s okay!

Big Batch and Make Ahead Meals:  Protein and veggies need to be foundational when it comes to our meals.  It’s far too easy to grab quick and convenient foods (even healthy alternatives) that are straight up carbs and fats.  Now, you know I’m a huge advocate for eating fat and carbs, BUT we’ve got to balance that out with lean proteins and LOTS of veggies.  One of the best ways for families to know they have a protein and vegetable options on hand and ready to roll is to make big portions to have ready to roll at any given times.  I often advise my clients to cook large quantities of chicken, fish, ground turkey or lean beef and store for a week’s worth of dinners/lunches at a time. Then from there it is easy to get creative with HOW you use it.

 For example— Chicken breasts can be anything from a salad topping to a chow mien dish to a reheated chicken breast with a new sauce or glaze. Just jump on Pinterest and be wow’d! I also suggest making staple healthy meals your whole family enjoys in large portions so you can grab them for “leftovers” throughout the week. No one in my family gets bummed out about clean tacos for lunch the next day!  Do the same for veggies-have them washed, prepped, cut and ready to go for easy snacking or dinner accompaniments.

Have a Prepared “Snack” Drawer: I love this idea especially for kids as the summer months begin. Put together a snack drawer both in your fridge and pantry that has whole food snacks available that you can feel good about them grabbing.  This could be baggies of fresh cut fruits and veggies, hummus cups, string cheese, nuts or trail mixes, gluten free crackers, cliff bars, etc. Let them know that this is a place they can take from when they are hungry for a snack.  This will help them feel empowered to choose from the variety of parent-approved snacks you’ll have set aside for them.

Invest in Tools: Let’s talk about investing in some kitchen tools you will come to know and love.  Enter InstantPot, Veggie Spiralizer, Mandolin, food processor, etc. These are generally time savers, make life easier and become go-to items you’ll use time and again and become comfortable with so you’ll know your tried and true recipes but also have the confidence to branch out and try new things with the tools you trust!

Do it Together: I say that and then I laugh out loud a little because I know this sounds nice but is hard to do.  That said, what a GREAT way to set your kids up for success. A great goal would be to make dinner together once a week as a family.  Give your kids small but meaningful tasks to help create the meal and explain the “why” behind what you are eating and how it fuels your body, etc.  Giving our children and even our significant others a glimpse into WHY always creates more buy-in! I will be trying this out and encourage you to do the same.

I hope these simple tips will help you and your family create some new healthy patterns in the coming weeks and months!