Balancing a family and a full-time job is no easy task. It can often leave you feeling frazzled, exhausted, stressed and just plain frustrated. You get home after a busy day at work, everyone is starving and wants dinner, but likely the last thing you feel like doing is making a big, huge meal. This is when people typically choose takeaway or pre-packaged meals as they are quick and easy. The problem with these options is that they’re not exactly healthy.
So, here’s the big question – can you prepare healthy meals for the family that taste great and don’t take tons of time to prepare when you’re busy working full-time? The short answer is yes. Here’s a look at some fabulous tips and tricks that you can use to start preparing delicious healthy meals your family will love all on a time-crunch.
Try a Meal Delivery Service
One of the hottest trends right now in terms of meal preparation is to use a meal delivery service. The way these services work is that they deliver pre-measured fresh ingredients to your door along with step-by-step recipes so that you can easily and quickly prepare delicious home-cooked meals. The shopping, chopping/dicing/slicing and measuring are all done for you so all that’s left for you to do is follow the recipe, combine the ingredients and cook it.
You may wish to use this service just a couple of times a week – maybe on your particularly busy days – or it could be every work night. They often allow for customization and there are even options for such people as vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free and so forth. The cost will vary from service to service, as will the menus so it’s a good idea to do some research and maybe try a few out. You can discover this info here to help figure out which services are worth looking into.
Embrace Slow Cooker Recipes
The next tip can completely transform how you cook your meals. Slow cookers have been a popular kitchen appliance for decades now. These work by cooking your meal at a low temperature slowly over time. Recipes tend to take 4-8 hours depending on the ingredients and the heat setting you choose. You simply put all the items in the pot, put the lid on, turn it on, and leave it until it is done many hours later. This means you can put everything in before you leave for work in the morning and come home to a fabulous dinner that is ready to be served.
Slow cooker recipes are known for being hearty, delicious, and comforting. You can get as creative as you like by combining a wide array of ingredients. If you purchase a large slow cooker, you’ll also have the convenience of leftovers which means dinner is done for at least a couple of nights.
As for where to find recipes, try searching online as you will find hundreds of tasty slow cooker dishes.
Plan Your Meals in Advance
A tip straight from the pros is to get into the habit of planning your meals out in advance. You can start with a weekly meal plan and then build from there and even plan a full month at a time. Once you have decided what to cook each night, you can then create your grocery list based on what’s needed. This means you will always have the ingredients on hand for that day’s meals.
In terms of the actual meal plan, you may want to ask the whole family to take part. Maybe each person gets to choose one or two days a week. This ensures everyone gets their “favorites” and that the meal plan doesn’t become too monotonous.
A good way to emphasize healthy choices is to set some parameters about the meals they choose. Add more vegetables and fruits, drink water with your meals, and even focus on meal portion sizes.
Get the Family to Help Out
There’s also the fact that meal preparation shouldn’t fall all on your shoulders. Perhaps there are things other family members can be doing to help. If the kids are old enough to help in the kitchen, have them join in with meal preparation, setting the table, clearing the table, and helping with dishes. Every little bit of help makes your life easier and smoother after a busy day at work.
If possible, try to prepare meals in advance and make large portions that can be frozen and taken out as needed. Maybe you can designate one weekend day a month to meal preparation where everyone helps, and you make enough items to stock the freezer.
There Are Ways to Make It Happen
So, if you’re ready to embrace healthy meals even on those busy weeknights, these tips will certainly help to make it easier on you.