healthy meal planning for families

Healthy Meal Planning for Families: Convenience not Work

I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Erin Grieger whose blog focuses on health, home life, and homeschool. She has a great upbeat personality and is very dedicated to health and fitness.

Growing up, my mom would always have a weekly meal plan.  I thought it was something everyone did.  However, working in health and fitness for over 15 years, I realize how many moms struggle with healthy meal planning for their families.

Therefore, I created a simple system for healthy meal planning and food prep for families and I want to share it with you! This is for busy moms to be able to plan and prepare dinner meals with TIME SAVING strategies so they can have home cooked kid friendly meals.

If you answer yes to ANY of the following, Meal Prep and Planning Made Easy is for you!

  • Feel too busy to prepare dinners for your family?
  • Struggle to find time to go to the grocery store?
  • Do NOT want to spend a full day prepping food?
  • Need dinner ideas your kids will actually eat?

In Meal Prep and Planning Made Easy you will learn how to do healthy meal planning for your family.

  • Learn how to organize a cookbook you’ll actually use for quick meal ideas.
  • Quick tips on healthy meal planning around your busy week.
  • Customizable meal prep grocery list for beginners that fits your family.
  • Where and how to shop when you’re tight on time.
  • Step by Step example of a weekly meal plan template.
  • Easy, quick suggestions for breakfast, lunch, snacks as well.
  • Food prep tips that don’t take all day!
  • Kid-friendly meal planning dinner ideas.
  • Extra advice to make this process successful.
  • A bonus video on nutrition guidance.
healthy meal planning for families

How to Fit Healthy Meal Planning for Your Family into Your Week

Food prep and planning out healthy meals ahead of time is critical for family meal planning.  

As moms we can’t do it all and we usually have more to do then we do time.  Therefore, do not be afraid to ask for help.  Ask your spouse if they’re willing to help with food prep, cutting fruits and veggies, or helping make dinner.  Once your kids are at an appropriate age, have them help you.  Not only will you be getting help, but they will be learning valuable life skills they will take with them into adulthood.  

If you have young children, there is no shame in hiring a babysitter / mother’s helper / local high school or college student to help.  They can watch the children while you do family meal planning. Or you can have them help with laundry, healthy meal planning, cutting up fruits, veggies, and starting to prepare dinner.  They could come for 1-2 hours, 1 or 2 times/week.

I did this for years when my children were really young.  It was extremely helpful to have someone come a few days a week for a couple of hours to help out.  I was still home, yet I was helping this young person learn healthy habits and life skills as well. 

Meal Prep for Beginners

The easiest way to start meal planning for beginners is to start small.  Build one new habit at a time and grow from there.  Remember it does not have to all be done in one sitting.  Break up the steps throughout your day / week so each step is manageable in 10 – 20 min that can work into your day.  

Look at the family schedule/calendar for the upcoming week to see what type of meals would make sense that week.  For example, if you have an evening meeting one night, make that a crockpot meal so you’re not scrambling around trying to make dinner, eat and get out the door on time.  

Then use a meal prep grocery template list that contains the family staples and add the ingredients for the dinners that fit your week. 

When you are ready to start adding in healthier meals, start with 1 new healthy recipe a week.  Figure out which meal is the most unhealthy of the day and replace that with a healthier alternative.  

healthy meal planning for families

Healthy Weekly Meal Plan with Grocery List

Have a premade meal prep grocery list hanging on your fridge.  (I actually have a customizable meal prep grocery list for beginners included in Meal Prep and Planning Made Easy to help you out!)

Put the list in order of the store layout. 

Include the family food staples.  Most of us our creatures of habit, so think through what you normally eat for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  These items will make up the outline of your meal prep grocery list.

For meal planning for beginners, start with five to seven dinner recipes you already know that are easy for you and add those ingredients to the list.  

Leave spaces throughout the grocery list template so family members can also add to the list when things run out. 

Healthy Family Dinners for Picky Eaters

Sometimes the biggest struggle is making sure the healthy meal plan is also a kid friendly meal plan.  Kids (and adults) need to be introduced to new foods multiple times before they learn to like it.  Please do not give up the first time you try a new healthy food and they turn their nose up to it.  Find a variety of ways to cook that new food over a few weeks so they can experience it.

Teach your kids about the different food groups.  Talk daily that it is important to eat fruit, vegetables and protein to keep their bodies healthy.  (And do NOT use the food pyramid.)  Explain that treats are ok in moderation, but how that type of food is unhealthy for their bodies.  

Here are some of my mom meal hacks for healthy meal planning that makes it a kid friendly meal as well!  
Grilled chicken and grilled summer squash and zucchini 
Of course my kids do not care for those veggies,  so I pull a raw veggie from the fridge, or one that has been steamed earlier in the week and put that on their plate instead. 

  • Chicken quesadillas
    I put in the black beans, chicken, cheese, corn in the bowl first and make them for kids.  Then I add peppers and tomatoes for ours.  My youngest does not care for it put together, so I put the ingredients on her plate separately.
  • Chili
    If they do not care for it, I will give them just a small serving.  Then I will pull fruit and veggie that’s already prepped from fridge and put on plate to add to their dinner. 

**I include 20 kid-friendly dinner recipes in Meal Prep and Planning Made Easy

The Importance of Healthy Meal Planning for Families

Healthy family meal planning is so important because your children will watch what you do.  They will repeat what you do and they will take what was modeled for them as a child and it will become their way of life as an adult.  

That is why it is important for the mom to also eat whatever is prepared for dinner vs feeding them unhealthy dinner and making a separate healthy meal for mom.  Learn how to make family favorites healthier so there is only one meal being prepared.  

This will make all of the meals healthier and more balanced. 

You will actually save time at the grocery store since there will be a grocery list to follow laid out similar to the store.  

Also having a healthy meal plan will save you time at home knowing what meals you have planned for the week and that you have the ingredients to go with them.  

This will also save money since you will only buy what you need for your meals and then you will not waste food either.

Last but not least, it will create more time together sharing a meal as a family!

Check out these great recipe posts too!

10 Easy Apple Recipes for Kids

13 Fall Crockpot Meals to Help You Embrace the Season

8 Pumpkin Recipes for Babies and Toddlers

Erin is a wife and mom to three girls.  She’s a former high school math teacher that taught fitness classes on the side to help keep her healthy.  Now she’s passionate about homeschooling and runs an online fitness business.  You can find encouragement for your health and homeschooling journeys at Erin Grieger and her Meal Prep and Planning Made Easy course.  Follow her on Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook.

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Hi, I am Heather! I am a mom of five, homeschooler, homesteader, and lover of all things chocolate. I am excited to share your faith and parenting journeys with you. Whether you are here looking to grow your faith, heal from loss, find homeschool resources, or hope to find inspiration in raising godly children, you are in the right place. So, grab your favorite hot beverage, curl up in your comfy chair, and stay awhile.

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