Having a fulfilling career, achieving a work-life balance and getting a healthy meal on the dinner table can be defined as achieving perfection as a parent. As the Family Manager, you are always thinking of food.
Like you, parents are overwhelmed with the physical and mental energy involved with cooking a healthy meal for their family. Having a healthy meal plan for your family complete with recipes, ingredients and time for meal preparation is a luxury that you do not have right now.
Your primary job as a parent is to provide a home and keep your children safe, clothed and fed. You work all day to provide an income for your family to live. Your schedule revolves around your family activities. You run from one activity to another and often multi-task to get through the day.
But one thing you must do at the end of each day…
Staring at your refrigerator at the end of the day is daunting. Your mind starts to race with many questions:
- Do I have ingredients for a meal?
- Will there be leftovers after my effort?
- Will everyone like this?
- How many pots do I have to clean?
- Do I have time?
And if you answer “NO” to the last question, you are most likely on your way through a fast-food drive-thru or browsing through a meal delivery app on your phone.
There are several ways that you can simplify healthy meal planning.
Five key steps to a Healthy Meal Plan
There are five key steps involved, from thinking about serving a healthy dinner for your family to actually sitting down and enjoying that meal together. The five steps represent pain points in your journey to a healthy meal plan. The food industry knows this and is organized around solutions to help you reduce these pain points.
- Planning. The first step is having a plan or committing to making a healthy meal plan. There are many different meal planning applications to help you create a healthy meal plan complete with a grocery list. I have personally tried several for my family and have found some that provide great tools. The drawback to using a healthy meal plan application is that there is no real one size fits all option. Healthy meal plan websites and apps are useful for the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kind and have time to browse through the recipe lists. People with no health concerns or food issues will find them helpful in finding easy healthy meal plans. People or families with multiple food intolerances, allergies or intolerances will have difficulty finding the right solution to their unique situation.
- Shopping. What if you have a plan but have no time actually to shop for the ingredients? Today we are fortunate that we have “click and collect” or home delivery options available to not step into a grocery store unless you want to. Online grocery shopping is a good option for the organized person with limited time available. You prepare the grocery list in advance, and then you decide when to complete the order and schedule a pickup or delivery time. The other fantastic benefit is that your shopping list is saved in your profile to make it simple to re-order when your stock is low. Online grocery shopping is a huge time saver for time-starved people. The limiting factor is having the time or technology savviness to create your profile and your first grocery list. I have helped many clients get started with overcoming this barrier and have set up many virtual grocery lists for clients.
- Meal Preparation. Once you have all the ingredients in your home, it should be easy to execute that healthy meal plan. Well, this is a challenging step for many busy parents. Planned meals often go unmade and perishable ingredients go bad when you have no time to prepare the meals. This step is where Prepared Meal Kit boxes, like Good Food, can become extremely helpful. Meal kit boxes eliminate the frustrations of planning, shopping and meal preparation in one easy step. Meal kit boxes are an excellent option for the busy weekday schedule, but it is not a one-size-fits-all option. Families with food intolerances, allergies and special diets will find it difficult to find meals that fit their needs.
- Cooking. The total meal preparation time will depend on the recipe, ingredients, and cook time. When you only have less than 30 minutes to get dinner on the table and get out the door, you need to have an excellent plan. Your cooking success will depend on your plan in the first three steps listed above, planning shopping and meal preparation. If the options that I have shared above have limitations for you, then some services will deliver ready to eat fresh or frozen prepared meals straight to your doorstep. I ran a successful meal preparation business that provided time-starved professionals ready to heat, chef-prepared meals. This service is a game-changer for many busy professionals, but it is costly and only works for the non-fussy, non-diet, no allergy person or family.
- Eating. Mealtimes must be protected at all costs. I fundamentally believe that life lessons and family values are shared when families eat together. I think parents need support to make sharing a meal together happen. Not only is eating together a critical step, taking time to eat healthy balanced meals is crucial for your health. I have outlined time-saving supports above like outsourcing meal planning, shopping and meal preparation; however, you cannot outsource precious family time or, more importantly, your health.
If prioritizing your health and protecting your family time is essential to you, I can suggest three other options to save time and be more organized.
- Hiring a nutritional coach– A consult with a Registered Dietitian nutritionist who can assess, review and identify your particular menu needs and challenges can help you start your healthy eating journey. In a one-hour consultation, I can diagnose the missing link in your quest to provide your family with healthy meals. I can help you identify which of the above solutions or other solutions available are right for your unique family needs. Like you, I help parents create a routine that incorporates healthy foods while eliminating foods that aren’t good for their dietary restrictions or lifestyle.
- Hire out your meal plan – As a professional meal planner, I design meal plans around your nutritional needs and dietary restrictions. Weekly balanced, delicious and nutritious plans are available to take the work out of menu planning. Healthy meal plans that based on your needs and not one size fits approach. I offer plant-based, anti-inflammatory based plans, as well as other custom plans.
- Professional Chef Services – If you have the money, you could outsource to a personal chef service. Whether culinary trained or nutritionally trained, a chef comes to your home for a specified number of hours to fill your fridge or freezer with meals for you and your family. The chef can plan, shop, cook, portion, and leave your kitchen spotless as if no one was there. The benefit of this is that you can control the type of food, ingredients and menu prepared for you.
You know that planning a week of healthy meals can alleviate your stress. You start looking for recipe ideas on Pinterest but then get overwhelmed by all the choices. Recipes without a healthy meal plan have a low chance of being prepared and less chance of getting eaten. Pinterest is a great place for recipe ideas; however, it is also a great place to become so overwhelmed that you give up.
I demonstrate to parents that healthy eating as a family can be easy and free of angst. I provide parents with tools and resources to plan easy healthy meals in less than 30 minutes with at the very least 10 minutes to sit and be present as a family.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out and Contact.
I offer all new clients a free 15-minute consultation appointment to ask questions and to assess whether I can help.