April 19, 2012

Tips for Healthy Meal Planning for Busy Families

As you already know, summer is right on our heels as the school year only has about five weeks left for most of us. While many feel that summer is the time for rest and relaxation, it’s anything but that for parents with kids involved in multiple activities. Throw family reunions, weddings and other special occasions in the mix and you’ve got a very busy 12 weeks!

This can make planning healthy meals next to impossible as most of us find ourselves going through the drive through at least 3-4 times a week in the summer…or eating food at the concession stand! Even if you aren’t spending all your time rushing kids from one activity to another, it can be difficult to plan healthy meals as you prepare for vacation, attend a wedding or visit a relative who just had a baby. Below are a few tips to help you with healthy meal planning no matter how busy you find yourself this summer!

1.    Make Multiple Meals at Once. It’s not that crazy to find yourself with only one or two “free” days during a week in the summer. Take advantage of these “free” days by making multiple meals at one time. You can make one meal for that day and then one or two more similar recipes (keep some of the main ingredients the same for simplicity) to freeze and just pull them out later to reheat before serving.

2.    Keep Fruit Salad on Hand. Who doesn’t like fruit salad? One of the best things about fruit salad is that it’s easy to make and incredibly healthy for you. An additional benefit of fruit salad is that after it’s been served with a meal, it can be used for as a meal by itself the next morning at breakfast. Simply put the left overs in a blender and make a smoothie out of it as you’re heading out the door…this also makes for a great afternoon snack.

3.    Stock Power Snacks. Keeping power snacks on hand is something everyone needs to do, but especially those with young children. Young children need to snack between meals, but the snacks need to be healthy. So, keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand as well as other power snacks like nuts, seeds, trail mix, etc. These snacks are easy to pack on trips. So, the next time your helping your little girl in her flower girl dress at a friend’s wedding and she gets hungry, all you’ve got to do is pull out your Ziploc bag of homemade trail mix to save the day!