Menu and meal planning is something that I always recommend to clients and encourage at my workshops. Although it may initially sound daunting and time-consuming, planning ahead will actually save you time and money in the long run.
Weekly menu planning goes a long way towards ensuring that you always have the necessary healthy ingredients on hand – cutting out those last minute dashes to the grocery store, or the need to rely on convenience or take away options. It’s simply the best way to create a healthy and wholesome menu that caters to all family members.
Coming up with inspiration can often be half the battle – which is why I address this issue in my book Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook. The book features an array of family and lunchbox meal and menu planners, utilising the simple recipes and techniques that are covered in my book.
The menu planners include options to suit all families, including those with allergies and dietary restrictions and those without, as well as lunchbox planners for both adventurous and fussy little eaters and a time-saving healthy party menu planner. The menu plans provide practical guidance on how busy families can best prepare for the week ahead, helping to make it as stress free and simple as possible.
Here are my seven top tips to make menu planning simpler and easier:
1. Get the family involved.
In my previous article ‘healthy pantry overhaul‘, I talk about the importance of getting children involved in the planning, shopping and food preparation element – as well as the power of simple swaps, like switching to whole grain versions of pasta, bread or rice and bulking up family meals and sauces with added vegetables.
The best way to encourage fussier eaters to stick to the planner and food on offer, is to get them involved and by encouraging each family member to help choose a meal and lunchbox ideas for the upcoming week. For some simple lunchbox recipe inspirations, see my post ’10 healthy lunchbox snacks that you can actually make at home’.