TRICKS TO SAVE TIME AND AVOID STRESS PLANNING MEALS

cooking

Keeping our families healthy is an obvious priority, but the busier we get, the harder it is to make well-rounded meals on the fly. That's where menu planning comes in. By planning ahead, you can cut down the time and effort it takes to prepare meals and ensure you're not constantly having to call in pizza or fast food. Here are a few different approaches to try:

1. Customizable Online Meal Calendars

Try an online service like Plan To Eat where you can easily bookmark recipes and then drop them into a calendar that syncs to Google or iCalendar. Plus, it automatically generates a shopping list for you. Try finding two weeks of menus from Pinterest or AllRecipes that you can repeat for the season.

2. Download Meal Plans

There are numerous bloggers who have shared their own family's tried-and-true menus for others to replicate. A quick Google or Pinterest search for your preferences (whole foods, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian) will point you in the right direction. For example, try cutting out processed food with the 100 Days of Real Food Meals Plans for a family of four.

3. Freeze It All Once A Month

Another trend these days and to set aside one day per month to prepare meals in advance and freeze the ingredients until you're ready to eat them. With Once A Month Meals, for example, you create your menu for the month - or use one of they suggest- and print out the shopping list it generates. Then chop vegetables and pre-cook meats with step-by-step instructions. Finally, freeze and label, so it's all ready to be warmed up when you need it.