The school year is just around the corner, and while things will definitely look different this year, there are a few things that won’t change. As parents, the to-do list will be never-ending, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to make sure that your family is getting healthy and balanced meals, even with limited time. While I don’t claim to be a pro, I’ve picked up a few handy tips over the years, and I want to share them with you today!
- Meal Plan. Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan! I cannot stress this enough! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but the 10-20 minutes you spend on the weekend prepping for the upcoming week will help you out when you’re in the middle of a hectic day. When the kids are calling your name every five seconds, and everyone in the house is asking you for something different, having a full dinner that just needs to be warmed up will feel like a real lifesaver. It will also help you with the next step, too. I always like to take a few minutes to assess what I have in my house and build recipes off of that. And, if you’re looking for inspiration, head to Pinterest or Instagram for some ideas. Our family loosely follows a paleo lifestyle, but more importantly, we like quick recipes that are both flavorful and healthy, but without the extra yuck added. A couple of my favorite people to follow for quick, healthy, and tasty recipes are The Defined Dish and All The Healthy Things.
- Buy your groceries before the week starts. Once you have your meal plan, take a few minutes to write down all the ingredients you need before going to the store. It’ll save you so much time during the week if you already have your ingredients on-hand so you don’t have to rush out to buy something while you’re in the middle of cooking.
- Mix pre-prepared food and fresh food. One of my best hacks for quick-and-easy weekday meals is to mix pre-prepared food with fresh food, and it’s part of why I love Tetons Waters Ranch so much. I love that they create 100% grass-fed protein products that make me feel good about what I’m putting into my family’s bellies, but they also save me loads of time. Whether it’s warming up sausages for the kids’ breakfast, grilling burgers for a healthy and filling burger bowl, or using some of their sausages to make a charcuterie board, their meats are always a winner for mama and family alike!
- Mix things up so you don’t get bored. I don’t know about y’all, but I cannot do day after day after day of simple protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate meals. I may include these once a week, but I like to keep meals interesting and fun, so that way we all look forward to eating them. That’s exactly why burger bowls are one of my family’s favorite meals. And again, when I’m in need of inspiration for these fun meals, I head to Pinterest or my favorite food bloggers’ websites for new ideas.
- Create “this or that” meals. With four people in our house, it’s sometimes hard to please everyone and make sure their needs are met. When that’s the case, I make what I call a “this or that” meal, because everyone wins in the end. For an example of a “this or that” meal, I’ll make a burger bowl for myself, but I’ll also provide buns for people who want to make burgers instead. Another one I like to make is tacos. I’ll make tacos with all the fixings, then I’ll put out both tortillas and greens, so you can go traditional or make a taco salad instead.
- Make a meal board. These are always a hit in my house! My toddler thinks they look great — she seriously compliments me every time I make one, so that alone makes it a #momwin for me. But, also, because everything is laid out in front of her, she is willing to try more new things. That means we can all sit down at the dinner table for dinner and enjoy something different. You know, without getting up 50 times to get someone a cup of milk, napkins, condiments, or anything else. A couple of my favorite meal boards to make are a hot dog board and a burger board. These are easy because I can quickly cook up my TWR meats and then prep the fixings in 10-15 minutes before sitting down to eat with the family.
With work, school, and little ones running around, weekday dinners can seem almost impossible to make happen every single day. However, with a little planning and prep before the week begins — and a couple of hacks to help you speed through making it —it’ll be so much easier. Hopefully these tips help make feeding your family healthy and delicious meals a little easier, and a little less stressful!