Healthy Meals for Busy Families - Aviva Allen's Blog

Healthy Meals for Busy Families

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Healthy-Meals-for-Busy-Familiies.jpgWith our busy schedules, getting a healthy meal on the table is not always an easy task. Lack of time, lack of inspiration and lack of energy can be major challenges but with proper planning, healthy meals are possible for your family!

1. Plan meals for the week: This is probably the single most important thing you can do so please don’t skip this step. Every weekend, take out a blank calendar for the week and plan your dinners. Some have success with theme nights, for example, Monday is Italian food, Tuesday is Mexican and Wednesday is Asian inspired. Over time, you can compile a list of recipes for each theme that your family enjoys and this will make it easy to reference when planning your menus. You can even schedule in some take-out or prepared meals to fill in the gaps at first.

2. Prepare a shopping list: Once your menu is complete, it is a good idea to create a shopping list. Shopping lists are helpful for staying on budget with your grocery shopping, but also important to insure you have all the essential ingredients on hand to prepare the recipes you have planned.

3. Prep in advance: It can be helpful to do some of the prep work in advance, particularly when you only have 30-45 to get dinner on the table. Leafy greens can be pre-washed and dried before storing them in the fridge. Peeling and chopping vegetables can be done the night before for a dish you plan to cook the next day. If you can’t find the time to do this, many grocery stores offer the convenience of packaged, chopped vegetables and pre-washed cooking greens. This convenience comes with an added cost, of course.

4. Batch cooking/Freezing meals: Spend an hour or two on the weekend preparing a few items for the week. You could cook a large pot of soup or a pot of rice, for example, to last throughout the week. 
If you are generally cooking for four people, try cooking for eight instead and freezing the leftovers for another week.

5. Crockpot: Slow cooking is a great way to ensure a hot meal is ready when you get home from work. It typically involves a small amount of prep work, which can be done the night before 
or in the morning. Then just throw all of your ingredients into the Crockpot, turn it on and walk away. Until you become fairly confident in your slow cooking abilities, be sure to look for recipes specifically designed for use in a Crockpot.

Check out the recipe section of my website for healthy recipes the whole family can enjoy!

Aviva Allen is one of Toronto's leading Kids' Nutritionists specializing in helping parents deal with their picky eaters. Inspired by her two young boys' adventures in food, Aviva helps children and their families establish healthy eating habits through her nutritional counselling, offering consultations via phone or Skype. Aviva is also the founder of Healthy Moms Toronto, helping connect like-minded moms throughout the GTA.