Take the stress out of family meal planning

how to plan healthy meals

Good planning is the key to making good choices

I’ve spoken before about making planning your superpower, and this is essential when it comes to food. Hunger makes you physically and mentally weak so if the closest thing to hand is an unhealthy snack, it can be hard to resist – even if you know it’s bad for you.

The pressures of work, coupled with the hectic pace of modern life, mean less time than ever to prepare an evening meal. The meal kit industry is booming thanks to companies like Hello Fresh and Gusto, and if you are looking for nutrition-packed, gourmet meals, tailor-made to your goals and delivered right to your door, then The Pure Package has got you covered.

Of course, we all start the day with good intentions to eat something healthy for dinner, but when the time comes, it can often be a struggle to follow through, especially if it’s been a long day and you’re too tired to put any real thought into it. By the time you walk through the door, it’s 8pm, and the kids have eaten already, so you end up having a cheese sandwich and a cup of tea. This scenario is not an issue of time or your knowledge around healthy food choices but an issue of planning and honouring your commitment to yourself and your best health.

How I plan our family meals

Firstly, I make selecting a healthy dinner easy by keeping a folder of my family’s favourite recipes ready to choose from. Whether you’re cooking for others or just for yourself, it’s a good idea to spend some time going through your recipe books and pulling out the ones you love that tick all your healthy eating goals, so you know you’ll always look forward to dinner.

Every Thursday I spend an hour planning and shopping for the next week’s family dinners, and as there are seven of us, planning is essential! I place three online shops for different delivery days, two with Ocado and one with Riverford Organic to ensure that we get fresh produce regularly. Also, by spreading it out like this, I don’t risk the fridge being so full that I can’t see what’s in it. For me, this removes the overwhelm of having to decide anything on the day. It also eliminates the likelihood of food getting wasted and ensures that over the course of the week we eat a tasty variety of proteins, salads and vegetables.

In that one hour of planning, I save countless hours of procrastination and altogether remove any opportunity for unhealthy choices. At the weekends, however, we do leave room for spontaneity. Inevitably there are times when we get too busy, and I have five hungry kids begging for pizza. But the weekday evening meals are not left to chance. Nope, they are locked in.

What holds you back from healthy eating?

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This blog provides general information about health and health-related subjects and the content and links are not intended to be used as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please do not delay in consulting with a healthcare professional.