How do you stay on track with feeding my family healthy meals? The same way you’re successful with anything. You’ve gotta get your head in the game. You’ve got to think ahead and have a strategy! Here are some strategies for making healthy meal planning a breeze!
1. Keep Meals Simple
Every meal doesn’t have to be a 4 course meal. In fact, you really don’t need a lot of side dishes. Often our meal consists of a meat and a vegetable. Sound boring? It doesn’t have to be. There can be a lot variety using just a few ingredients when you mix in herbs, spices, and a little creativity! Meals really can be healthy, simple, and delicious.
Use these tips when thinking about what to include in your meals:
- Be sure to focus on quality sources of protein, like grass fed beef and free range eggs.
- Eat plenty of good fats and avoid bad fats.
- Round your meal out with vegetables.
- Need a great dessert? Fruit makes a tasty sweet treat.
- Limit or completely eliminate grains and sugars from your diet.
2. Plan, plan, plan.
Plan your meals in advance. When we neglect to plan, we often slip into bad habits (like running through the drive thru). This is neither a healthy nor affordable option.
Sit down and make a meal plan for the week or even for the month. I’ve been really bad about this lately, but I have some handy printables that are going to really help me keep on track with my meal planning. I have them available for you to download below for free. In case you missed it above—plan!
3. Invest in meal planning books!
Do you feel like you just don’t have any ideas (*raises hand*). Yeah, I’m with ya. I get dry for ideas. I feel like I just rotate the same meals over and over sometimes. I don’t like that, I want to liven meals up.
One thing I’ve found that can really help with this is having an arsenal of meal planning books. There are a number of very inexpensive downloadable books that can help you do this. Below are six books I have in my eLibrary you might consider (Please note: they are not all gluten free, but most have gluten free options.)
- A Fat Proof Meal Plan ($2.99)
- The Cottage Mama Plans Her Summer Menu ($3.95)
- The Cottage mama Plans Her Spring Menu ($3.95)
- The Cottage Mama Plans Her Homeschool Menu ($3.95)
- Real Food for the Real Homemaker (Recipes, Meal Planner, Shopping List, and Recipe Cards; $12.95)
- Heavenly Homemakers 40 Real Food Weekly Menu Plan Ideas ($5.00)
4. Don’t go broke buying healthy food.
Can’t afford to purchase all organic produce? Don’t worry, I can’t either. Organic produce in my neck of the woods is just plain expensive. Just focus on purchasing organic produce on the dirty dozen list or visit your farmers market when in season. (The free printables below have the dirty dozen and clean 15 list right on the shopping list so you won’t forget while at the grocery store!)
There are a lot of other techniques I use in order to be sure I’m saving money buying and preparing healthy, real food for my family. There are way too many ideas for learning how to eat healthy on a budget than can be addressed in one post. Real Food on a Real Budget is a fantastic 200+ page book that is packed with tips on how to do just this!
5. Download these free printables (for a limited time)
These printables will not just help you organize your meals, but they’ll also help you organize your day. There are 4 printables in this packet.
• The first has a daily plan list, along with a place for you to write today’s meal plan (so you don’t forget what you’re supposed to be doing!).
• The second is a “Week at a Glance” printable for you to write any important appointments or other functions that are going on.
• The third printable is your weekly meal plan list. Write out your meals for the whole week. It also has a reminder area for you so you remember some of the key points in meal planning that we talked about above.
• The last printable is a shopping list with the “Dirty Dozen and Clean 15” list.
Download the Free Printables!
You can buy the printables in our store for $1.99 or sign up here to subscribe to our new healthy living newsletter. You’ll be redirected to a page where you can download the printables for free!