Meal planning and prepping seems to be all the latest craze for people who want to lose weight and have some type of discipline when it comes to adopting a healthier lifestyle. Many of us fall off within a matter of weeks because of the time it takes and thinking eating healthier food has to be what I call the three B’s…bland, boring, and a budget buster. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be any of these things and it’s a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.
What some individuals who are not trying to lose weight and people with families fail to realize is meal prepped food aimed for weight loss can be eaten by individuals and families who are not trying to lose weight based upon their dietary needs in terms of portions, age, weight, gender and active lifestyle. Besides, who has the time to cook multiple meals everyday because someone wants fried chicken, while the other wants it baked, and someone else wants something all together and orders pizza.
As women and leaders of our households when it comes to grocery shopping and cooking for our families, we set the tone of how healthy our families will be. While I understand everyone has different likes and tastes, as mothers and wives we have to educate our loved ones the reasons why we should be eating certain things, encourage them into trying new things, and not give in to our children’s temper tantrums of wanting something different or saying they don’t like it before they try it. We would rather give in and not hear their grumbles and moans rather than avoid the possibility of them developing childhood obesity, diabetes and poor eating habits.
Peer pressure at school and social outings can make it hard in helping them choose better food choices, but if you start the practice of eating healthy with some allowances and treats at an early age, you shouldn’t have a huge problem with them steering away from it. Your normal will become their normal. If you eat fried foods all of the time, solve problems or fill your emotional voids with food, they too will do the same.
Children are like sponges. They watch and soak up everything you do even when you think they’re not watching. Remember, you’re the role model on their road to success in life. Get behind the wheel and steer them on the right course towards healthy eating and exercise.
Earlier this week, I talked about trying to make sure my meals and snacks cover the 7 essential nutrients (carbs, proteins, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water) our bodies need everyday in order to perform properly. Men need more than women and children need less than women depending upon a few factors which I named earlier.
The whole idea behind meal planning and prepping is the following:
● It saves time.
Sometimes, life throws us curve balls. We’re tired from work, children’s extracurriculars, homework, housework, spousal duties, etc. When you prep and cook ahead of time, you don’t have to worry about what’s for lunch or dinner by trying to throw something together. Oftentimes than not, these rushed meals are unbalanced, unhealthy or might come from a drive thru.
● It saves money.
Eating out everyday is very costly especially if you have a family. Getting lunch with co-workers, unhealthy snacks from the vending machine, that supposedly much needed coffee from Starbucks and stopping on your way home to pick up a family of four meal pack adds up to more than what most families’ budgets will allow and most of the time, it’s unhealthy too. Eating healthy isn’t as expensive as most people think anymore. Shop your local farmer’s markets and weekly grocery fliers for sale items on fresh fruit, veggies, dairy, whole grains, and lean proteins. Have a staple of pantry and fridge items on hand. You do not have to eat all organic food in order to eat healthy. It’s a matter of making sure you have well balanced meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.
● You learn how to eat and make healthier choices.
Again, this is an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and try new healthy recipes. There are a lot of recipes on pinterest, cooking blogs and sites, as well as my own blog and social media sites that I create on my own. Do a little research in your spare time searching for healthy dishes, meats, sides, and salad recipes. Every meal doesn’t have to come from a recipe, be complicated or require 2o or more ingredients. A well balanced meal should consist of a lean protein, complex carb, non starchy vegetable and a healthy fat. It’s that simple. Bookmark or print out your recipes for future reference. Once you get into the swing of things, you will have an abundance of healthy resources and recipes over time.
● It boosts family time.
You have more quality time to spend with your family to do other things because you’re not as tired from trying to cook after work everyday, you can sit down and eat together as a family, break generational curses of chronic illnesses and poor eating habits, and teach your future generations how to cook and eat healthy by doing it with them on meal prepping days. Time is one of the valuable intangibles you can’t get back.
Here are a couple of pictures of some of my own individual meal preps covering 3 meals and 2 healthy snacks for 4-5 days.
To help get you started, incorporate the 4 P’s of healthy eating into your meal plans.
4. PackagingYou can refer back to my previous blog post entitled, “The 4 P’s of Healthy Eating: How to Save Time, Money and Unwanted Calories,” in which I went into greater detail about how to do each of these.
Family meal planning can be a simple process with a little planning and organization on your part. Break out the sales papers, your weekly meal planning calendar, recipes, and take an inventory of your pantry and fridge. Now is the perfect time to break future generational curses of chronic illnesses by turning your family’s health and eating habits around. Not only will you get to spend more quality time with them, you can also save money by cooking at home and using it towards family vacations and emergency funds as well as save avoiding expensive medical costs and insurance plans by being healthy.
Cook more! Move more! Live more!
Live and Be Well,