How to Save Time in the Kitchen Cooking Healthy for Kids

I’m excited to join nationally recognized author of Vibrant Child: 7 Steps to Increase Your Child’s Health & Happiness and Speaker, Amanda Hinman, and share some of her time-saving strategies with you this week.

If you’re anything like me, you want your family to eat healthy meals but you don’t want to feel like a permanent fixture in the kitchen!  You get frustrated when you spend time preparing a nutritious homemade meal and have your kids turn their noses up at it!

You want to find a way to simplify eating healthy and discover how to help your kids eat more veggies and protein…stuff that has substance!

In today’s video I am sharing how to save time with meal preparation AND improve your child’s eating habits.

CREATE A WEEKLY MEAL PLAN

Creating a weekly meal plan is my favorite place to start when you’re looking to spend less time feeling disorganized with meals and you would like to improve your family’s nutrition.

You know what it’s like at 5:00 PM after you’ve had a long day, then spent time after school shuffling kids around to activities and now you don’t know what to do for dinner.  AHH!

We’ve all been there.  This is when running through Chipotle sounds like the best option.  The truth is though, if you were honest about the long-term impact for everyone in the family you would rather not be stuck in this routine a year from now.

It’s stressful, expensive and not to mention causes a lot of headaches and fights over what your kids will eat and what they won’t.

Just like everything in life, having a plan makes execution easier.  By taking time to map out what is coming in the hours and days ahead, you already set the stage for your day to unfold as you intend it to.

Family Meal Plan Worksheet

3 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MEAL PLAN THAT WORKS

There are some important strategies to create a successful meal plan that works for your family.  Here are my top three:

1) Start off with simple meals that your family already eats and gradually add in real food substitutions as the weeks progress.
2) Designate who is responsible for the preparation of each meal. For example, in our family, Mike prepares breakfast on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I do Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  The girls pack their lunches for school and we alternate dinner as well.
3) Stick with a consistent theme week after week. For example, Soup on Sunday, Monday Grill Night, Taco Tuesday.  Once you have a weekly framework in place you can begin to add flexibility such as grilled chicken one week and grilled cheeseburgers the next.

Family Meal Plan Worksheet

FLEXIBILITY AND CONSISTENCY IS KEY

When you create your weekly meal plan, I suggest using it as a framework, or outline, of how your meals will look week after week.

This is not intended to have you eating the exact same meals over and over again (unless you want to!) but rather to provide a starting point that allows you to add in flexibility to switch out the veggies on the side, or change from a spaghetti night one Thursday to a broccoli and shells the next week for Thursday’s pasta night.

Also, consistency is an important way to support your kids’ willingness to try new foods.  They have so much variety in their lives and being able to rely on having egg sandwiches for breakfast every Wednesday may mean your son takes his egg off to eat it plain the first three weeks, but he is willing to try a taste by the fourth week.

Just like your son didn’t learn how to swim the first time in the water, he had consistent exposure until he could dive to the bottom of the pool.

Sometimes when I share this strategy at workshops, moms say, “My husband would never go for this” or “this won’t work in my family” and that is why it is important to have the support to discover how to re-frame your belief and instead ask, “how can this work for my family?”

For years, people repeatedly told me that I was lucky my kids would eat the way they do and that I had time to prepare healthy meals.

What I’ve realized in my life and my business is that luck has nothing to do with it.  Whether it’s getting to the place where my kids are happy to eat green beans with breakfast or having a rotation that allows me to prepare only half of our family’s meals each week…

It’s all about having a proven strategy, a positive mindset and support to create a way for it to work for you.

With love and gratitude,

- Amanda