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If you are just starting out with our 40 days to organization, feel free to start here or start at the beginning!
Today we are moving on to healthy family meal plans:
Day 14: Healthy Family Meal Plans
I am going to talk mostly about dinner, since our breakfast and lunch are pretty much the same every day (a lot of fruit, oatmeal, PB&J…)
Dinner-time: Let me start out by reminding you that I have a family of six. We have four kids (ages 6, 4, 2 & a baby) so we have to have kid-friendly recipes in our home, but I’m not talking about chicken nuggets and mac & cheese, I”m just saying we try to stay away from super-spicey foods and things like that.
I love when I find something that our whole family will enjoy! (Did you see my post on: eating dinner as a family- what to do when you can’t eat dinner together?)
The problem with cooking for a family with young children is that you want to make it as quick as possible and as tasty as possible so that your little ones will eat up all of that healthy food! With little ones running around, you don’t get hours to spend on your meals. (I try this activity with them when I am cooking) The quick fix is to go to a prepared, boxed meal.
The downside is that you are feeding your kids a lot of “non-whole” foods and preservatives (and ingredients that I can’t even pronounce!) I hate to think of what they are eating.
How can a food really last a year on the shelf, but be healthy for their bodies? It doesn’t even seem like “real food” to me. That’s not to say that we don’t eat it, because we do, but I just would rather them eat fresh, whole foods that I have made from scratch. I really try to do that every night (at least during the week- weekends are flexible!)
That brings me to my latest awesome find! Its emeals and it is fantastic! They do everything for you, except cook! You can read more about it here with my post on organizing your meal plans.
Having your kids join in can really make a difference…
step 1- Decide which meals you want to eat for a week. Pick the main part of the meal (chicken a la king or whatever it may be)
Step 2- Pick the fruits & veggies to go with them.
I just print out a regular printable (“free printable calendar”) off of the internet & jot down what we will be eating. If I can do one week at a time- great! If I can do more- even better. The kids like to tell me what they want to eat, too, so we have “breakfast for dinner” once ever few weeks and Tacos at least once a week (their favorite). The rest of the week or month comes from referring to one of my ebooks or recipe cards.
Here is a great recipe from the book, Better Than a Box.
Dad’s Cheeseburger Helper
Recipe type: Entree
Author: Katie Kimball
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder or 2-3 tsp. onion flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove minced garlic)
1 1/4 cup tomato sauce
hefty squirt of mustard
1 3/4 c. water
salt to taste (at least 1/2 tsp?)
2 1/2 c. pasta (see note below)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Brown and drain beef.
Stir in pepper, onion powder, garlic, tomato sauce, and mustard.
Pour in water and pasta.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat;
Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the water is absorbed and the pasta is cooked.
Turn the heat off and stir in the cheese.
We have successfully used gluten-free pasta (brown rice), and cut a 1/4 c. of water from the recipe to avoid mushiness.
ARE YOU READY TO MOVE ON? SEE DAY 15: HEALTHY & CHEAP MEALS and grocery shopping without spending a lot! (Tips to help you save at the store)