As a Registered Dietitian, my clients often ask me for meal ideas for their families. Parents are busy people juggling work, family and friends. I’m here to help you make the most of your precious time at home. After all, who wants to (or can!) spend the whole day in the kitchen?
Here are my five best tips for help you maximize time, money and food!
1. Menu plan! There is no better way to stay organized than to plan out each day’s meals. Even if this is just a rough sketch of the week, it will undoubtedly help you to scramble less. That is, unless scrambled eggs are on the menu.
2. Cook in bulk on Sunday nights. This might be a large batch of roasted vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, hardboiled eggs or homemade hummus. This means one less thing for you to do on a busy weeknight when you’re squeezing dinner between afterschool, soccer, homework and bath time.
3. Make enough for more than one serving. It’s one thing to shop, prep and cook one meal, but it’s even better if you’re able to shop, prep and cook once and eat it twice. Utilize leftovers to reimagine last night’s dinner for today’s lunch. A whole roast chicken can easily become a lunch of chicken breast over garlic lemon quinoa.
4. Think about what is realistic for your family. Regardless if you have been slow roasting your chicken stock for six hours or if your white bean chicken stew is organic and free range, if your kids won’t eat it, what good is it? Start with an ingredient you know they will love, and build a meal around it. That brown rice you made on Sunday? How about adding it to lean ground beef to make a meatloaf. Or build a burrito with brown rice and roast chicken leftovers.
5. Get creative and be flexible! There’s a reason brinner (breakfast for dinner) exists. If your kids would rather eat chicken and potatoes for breakfast and eggs and toast for dinner, that’s just fine in my book. Getting the most nutrition into children’s (and adult!) bodies is one of the most important parts of feeding. Of course, eating is social and dinnertime is often family time, but we can’t forget the healthy stuff! Opting for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains, instead of energy rich foods like candy and soda will keep our kids happy and healthy. And what parent can argue with that?
About the Author:
Megan Wolf is a New York City based Registered Dietitian and the owner of Megan Wolf Nutrition LLC, a nutrition counseling and consulting private practice. She holds a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is a speaker, an avid cook, recipe creator and writer for her blog, The Domesticated Wolf, and a proud former Sensible Sitter. You can follow her on social media for more recipe inspiration and healthy living ideas: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.