Busy Mom's Guide to Basic Meal Planning

I started dating my husband when I was seventeen, and one thing I remember is being at his house and seeing a menu for the week on the refrigerator. My mother-in-law was a very good meal planner. For every night of the week, she had specified a main dish, vegetable and dessert. I always wondered how much time it took her to plan her meals for the week. I've always tried to plan meals, but the hardest part for me is figuring out what to eat. Where do I look for recipes-recipe websites, Pinterest, Twitter, recipe books, Kindle recipe books? Who has time for all that? Well, if planning meals seems overwhelming, I have some simple steps to help get you started.

• Pick dishes that your family enjoys.
I like to ask my daughter and husband what they want to eat and then put a healthy spin on it. My daughter loves mashed potatoes, so I've found a mashed cauliflower recipe that we can have often that will satisfy her mashed potato craving.

• Save recipes from the internet in one place.
I have many places on the internet that I find recipes, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, email and recipe websites. I like to save the recipes to Pinterest, so then I have one place where they are stored, and I can find them easily.

• Go meatless once a week.
Once a week, experiment with a new meatless recipe. Meatless Mondays will save you money and your family might find a new favorite food. Lentils, black beans, chickpeas and brown rice are all favorites at my house. Veggie rice is one of my family's favorites.

• Use recipes that share ingredients.
If you have a recipe that calls for mushrooms, use mushrooms in another recipe, that way half the container of mushrooms will not be left to wilt in the refrigerator.

• Consider how much time you have during the week.
If you have time to prep for the week, then about any recipe will work. However, if you are very short on time, choose recipes that are easy to make. My family loves hummus wraps. They are healthy, delicious and can be made in a few minutes.
I'd love to hear your meal planning tips.

Mashed Cauliflower (adapted from Dashing Dish.com)
1 Large head of cauliflower
1 Small sweet onion, chopped
1 Clove of garlic, smashed (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Pinch Salt and pepper (or to taste)
Optional: 1 tsp dried parsley
Cut the cauliflower into florets and place into a large pot. Add onion and garlic to the pot. Add enough water to the pot to cover the florets. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce cauliflower. Strain cauliflower and onions in a colander, and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add Parmesan cheese, and seasonings. Pulse until you get the consistency you like. If you like a creamier consistency, considering adding milk, and continue to process until smooth.

14 Day Sugar Detox starts Wednesday, February 18. If you are wanting to cut sugar from your diet, lose weight, gain energy, get a better nights sleep then this detox is for you. For more information, visit my website at http://www.rethink-your-diet.com.
Elaine Agnew is a holistic health coach who helps women fit into their skinny jeans without dieting, pills or calorie counting through teaching planning and preparation of meals that their entire families will enjoy.

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