Meal planning and food prep can cause major stress for busy families. As a family of six, it sometimes feels impossible to feed everyone. If you are reading this, I have a feeling I don’t even need to say this because you already know, but kids are hungry ALL. DAY. LONG! I’m going to share my routine and some tips and tricks to help you get an idea of how you want to plan and prep for your family.
How I Grocery Shop
Ordering groceries online works best for me. The thought of going inside the grocery store with 4 kids is terrifying and annoying to me. I have a fear that they will knock down the toilet paper tower or grab a can of soup from the bottom row of a soup pyramid. Has it ever happened to me? Well no, but that’s my fear. The annoying factor that I mentioned is that when I do take my kids in for a weekly trip to the store, I’m distracted and come home with the most random things and not what I went in for.
Couponing is easier for me when I have a computer screen in front of me and can put the correct items in my “cart”. And when I can’t remember if we are out of ketchup or not I can just walk over to the fridge and pantry to check.
I do go in the grocery to bulk shop. Costco is pretty new to our routine, but it has become necessary since we are a large family now. I either tackle this with help, or I leave the kids home with Daddy. And I absolutely love to do small trips to Whole Foods and Fresh Thyme with my kids. When I don’t have to focus on making sure I have all the right foods for the week, it is fun to stroll the aisles with my kids and allow them to practice being out in public (let’s be real, they need practice to learn to function outside of the home). It also gives me time to teach them about healthy options for fueling their little bodies.
How I Meal Plan
I personally love to cook. If cooking isn’t a hobby you enjoy, you probably need a pretty detailed plan to eliminate guess work and stress. For me, I sit down on Saturday to order groceries. I think about if I have any specific meals I definitely want to make, and I order appropriately. I think about if my kids need anything sent to school for the week or if we are hosting anything where I need to provide food for others, and again, I order appropriately. Otherwise, I just search through and order a number of meats, veggies, fruits, and a few grains. Every week I order the staples (milk, breads, juices, butter, eggs…). And then I keep things stocked at home that are good for multiple meals (sauces, spices, oils, grains, etc.). This way I can make fun choices throughout the week without feeling like I’ve taken away my love for throwing items together to make a meal.
How I Food Prep
My Sunday is all about getting things ready to make the week easier. I wash all fruits and veggies in vinegar and water. I chop anything ahead that I can so that I can just grab it and throw it in when I’m cooking. I make snack cups for the kids (next section). I prepare a few lunches that we can grab and run with when we need it during the week. I prepare a few meats that can be thrown into a salad or on a sandwich or wrap (usually chicken, steak, and fish or shrimp). I would love to cook a meal or two ahead that can just be thrown into the oven during the week, but I usually run out of time on Sundays.
Momology Snack Cups
Snack cups make my life better. I swear by them! When my kids say “I’m hungry again”, I send them to the fridge drawer designated just for them or to their bin on the counter to grab a pre-portioned, ready to go snack. I switch them up each week to keep them from getting bored and to get different nutrients and vitamins down them. If I had to cook three meals a day and figure out a hundred snacks a day on top of it all, I would be a mess. This helps take away a lot of stress. Check out Momology Snack Cups if you need more information or ideas on this subject.
I also make smoothies really often. They fill us up and it is a great way to sneak in healthy options if you are feeding a picky kiddo. As soon as I get a good smoothie blog post or video, I’ll link it here for you.
Don’t Have Much Time or Interest for Cooking?
Let someone else do the work for you. When we have weeks that I know are going to be insane, I use a local company called Dinner to Doorbells. The meals are already prepped and ready for me to heat up and feed my family. This is an amazing option and one I’m thankful to have.
Drive-Thru/ Take-Out/ Dining Out
I need you to hear this loud and clear! Life is busy. It can get stressful and overwhelming. You should never feel guilty about needing to drive through or just get out of the house for a meal you didn’t spend time making. Good grief, sometimes I just don’t want to clean up after us! Give yourself grace and drop the guilt. You are doing an amazing job!
Worried About Losing Your Reusable Dishes?
I found this adorable, amazing company that makes labels that are dishwasher and microwave safe. Mabel’s Labels
I hope this gives you some ideas and helps you get a better handle on feeding your family. Let me know if you have any questions! I am always happy to help!
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