Practical, Healthy, and Easy Meal Planning Tips For Busy Families
Are you busy from your work and find it hard to allot time to make satisfying and nutritious homemade food for your family? Do you find yourself getting takeout as an alternative, even while knowing that this habit is ruining your health? Time is very valuable and precious, and as a hardworking and frenetic individual, we know that you know this. To make your life a bit more easy and “healthify” your cooking options, we have created a sustainable and practical planning guide below for you to follow!
Family Calendar: Keep a family calendar and write your family member’s schedule for the week/Month. Let kids write their projects’ due dates, holiday lunch parties (Halloween, Thanksgiving lunch), doctor’s appointments, PT conferences and other meetings etc. This holds everyone responsible and helps manage tasks without stress.
Pre-prep over the weekend: I strongly suggest investing about 1-2 hours in the kitchen over the weekend. Clean, cut, and store your veggies to use in soups, salads, pasta, noodles and other food which involves adding veggies. Encourage your kids to help you in the kitchen with small tasks and utilize this opportunity to teach them about nutrition.
While preparing your lentil crepe batters ( Idli/Dosa batters) you can steam your veggies, cook your lentils/beans, make chutneys and prepare flat bread (chapati) dough etc.
Be creative: Prepare a simple yet delicious curry base mix (See recipe below) for Indian gravy curries that go with chapati/Lentil crepe (dosa). Recipe: 1 tbsp of oil, add 2 cups chopped tomatoes,1 small onion diced, 1tsp ginger-garlic and 1tsp Coriander-cumin. Cook it well for 5-7 minutes, add a pinch of turmeric, 1/2 tsp red chili powder and salt to taste. Once the mixture is at room temperature, store it in the refrigerator. You can use the same curry mix for any curry as a base and add other spices to suit your taste. For example, to prepare Chana masala, add the curry base mix, add your cooked chickpeas, add Chana masala powder, other spices per your taste and enjoy!!!
Themed dinners: This meal planning idea has become very popular and kids of all ages love it. Try meatless or Millet Mondays, Tofu or Taco Tuesdays, Wheat-less Wednesdays, Try-out Thursdays, Fantastic Fridays, Super-Saturdays and Sandwich Sundays. Think outside the box, there is more variety than you can imagine.
Introduce millets on Mondays and substitute for rice or wheat.
Tofu is a wonderful protein; you just need to know how to fix it properly. Marinate with your favorite spices, bake and broil the few minutes for a crispy and flavorful tofu. Alternatively, try taco dinners which are super easy to make.
Wheat-less Wednesdays don’t have to be challenging. I have been gluten/wheat free for 10 years now and surviving. There are tons of varieties of gluten-free foods out there. Most south-Indian staple foods are gluten free. Think outside the box.
Try a variety of one-pot meals or casseroles for Thursday, loaded with protein, veggies and whole grain.
Fridays can be a Pizza night with a whole lot of veggie toppings and super-Saturdays can be putting your left-overs from the week to create a super meal. Keep it simple on Sundays with a simple veggie sandwich, side salad, and fruit. You need to rest your body and mind and gear up for the upcoming week.
Have a happy and healthy day!