Fight unhealthy eating with meal planning

When you are busy with kids, career and home, it is easy to make a quick trip to the fast food joint for lunch or dinner. In the fight to stay healthy, try menu planning. When you know what you are going to eat, you can fight the hunger bug without added calories.

Every mom has had those days where they are so busy they forget to eat. How about forgetting to take something out of the freezer for dinner? It is hard to face a hungry family with a frozen roast in your hand.

Planning meals avoids the question: What are we going to eat? And, to make it fun, get the entire family involved. Let everyone be in on the solution to the problem. Here are some tips for planning meals.

  • Hold a meal planning session - Each week, get the family together and decide what you want to eat for the week. It will be hard at first to think that far ahead especially for the kids. Keep a copy of the food pyramid handy so you can be sure that enough vegetables and fruits are included each day. Include desserts and snacks in your meal plan.
  • Use your food list for grocery shopping - With a list in your hand, it is less likely for you to pick up something that you do not need. Be sure to read labels to find the best ingredients for your meals.
  • Use less pre-packaged and fresher foods - Let the family get in on the act. When the family helps to prepare the meals, they can see the fresh food choices that you are making. Kids learn how to cook with fresh ingredients and mom gets help.
  • Meal planning helps with portion control - When you eat out at a fast food restaurant or a dine-in spot, you dobnot know if the portion you are getting is right for you. Usually it is twice as big as anyone should have at any meal. When you prepare your own food, account for each person in the family and what they will eat. If that is all you cook, there are no leftovers to tempt you.
  • Do some prep work - When you plan meals in advance, you can do the slicing and dicing on a day when you are less busy than usual. Dice vegetables, marinade meat, and mix dry ingredients ahead of time so that meal cooking is a quicker process when you need it to be.

Do not be embarrassed if you are one of those moms who forget to defrost the chicken or are tempted to hit McDonald's. Several meal planning websites can help you to get started to help your family eat healthy.