I got so busy last week that besides planning my own family’s meals I did not get around to writing about it. Well, the family calendar dictates how much time you will have to prepare meals at home, or when you will need to be ready to pull something out of the refrigerator or freezer. Eating together has many benefits and if you can plan ahead of times for those busy weekdays, you can make it happen.
Consult your calendar and determine which days will you have time to prepare a fresh meal vs the days when you can pull together some leftovers. Yes, you can plan for leftovers. Planning some re-heatable foods also makes packing lunches easy.
- You can make a pasta dish once and serve it on multiple evenings or pack for lunches.
- Sauté or roast vegetables in season. Serve as a side one night and turn leftovers into soup or add to a tomato sauce with some lean meat or use it as a topping for pizza.
Wednesdays are good in most areas to look at what is on sale in your grocery store. Taking advantage of items on sale will keep your food budget in check and possibly increase your intake of seasonal produce. The stores will have better prices on the produce that is in season and available in plenty.
- Use your day off to not only shop for but also prep for the week. You can even use the online ordering offered by many stores to save time. Just pick up the groceries.
- Plan to use up the berries, and other ripe fruit delicate greens and fresh seafood first. Some of the heady greens such as collards and kale will withstand the refrigeration for 3-5 days. Melons, mangoes, apples, oranges, pineapple can fill your fruit bowl and grace your table and don’t have to be eaten right away.
- Buy pre-chopped items such as sweet potatoes or butternut squash, precooked beets, salad greens in oyster packs to reduce your prep time.
- Use your slow-cooker: prep all the ingredients the night before, add to the slow-cooker in the morning, let it cook all day and come home to a hot meal. This is especially helpful on the days when you come home from an athletic event and everyone is hungry (or my family calls it “hangry”).
- Make extra servings for soups, chili or casserole which can be then frozen into single servings and used later for lunches or dinners.
Need some inspiration to try some new recipes? Give My Happy Plates a try. You can even get the groceries you need for the recipes delivered to your door. Start by planning at least 3 meals per week. Once you get the hang of it, you can make it a full week.