You want to serve better meals for your family, especially your children. But life is hectic, and those frozen and prepackaged meals and fast food are so quick and easy and they’re healthy, (at least according to the manufacturer).
But let’s really take a look at the what is in a lot of these “healthy” foods that are out there in the market place. Did you ever read the labels on these? I found I didn’t recognize or couldn’t pronounce half the ingredients in most of them. Is this what we need to be eating? Also, these foods ( fast food, junk food, prepacked meals, sugary cereals and nutrition bars, etc.) are for the most part, high in fat, salt, sugar and preservatives. And this is bad for us from a nutrition standpoint as well as packing on the calories.
So maybe it’s time to rethink how your family eats and make some changes. How about cooking from scratch? Starting with fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and other fresh ingredients so you know what’s in the meals your family is eating.
I know our lives are busy, especially if you are a working mom and/or your kids are involved in many activities. Since cooking from scratch takes time, cooking a full meal can become a real chore. But here are some ideas on how you can cook from scratch and still keep you sanity.
Simplify your life so you have time to cook. This could be a whole topic in itself, but ask yourself if you and your family are trying to do too much. Are you really enjoying all the activities you are involved in? Would eliminating some of them make life less stressful for everyone? Talk it over with your family – see if there is anything that you all can opt out of. You may be surprised at what you learn.
A good place to start cooking at home is with meal planning. Take the time to sit down with the grocery store flyers and plan your meals for a week. Be sure to check what coupons you may have that you can use too. Make your weekly grocery list from the menu plan. By doing most of your grocery shopping in on trip you can save time and money in the long run. One word of advice – don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry – it leads to to buying more than you planned.
Involve the family in meal planning – ask for ideas, likes and dislikes, new foods you might try, etc. Also, involve the kids in preparing and, if age appropriate, cooking the meals. It will be a great way to learn kitchen skills they will need when they are on their own. It also gives you family time together. And, guess what? Kids will be more likely to eat what they have helped fix for dinner.
Eat together as a family as often as possible. It’s a great time to catch up on the day’s happenings. It can also be a great time to recognize the budding cooks and helpers.
Also, include the family in kitchen cleanup. Get the kids involved – it never hurts for them to know how it’s done. Everyone eats, so everyone should help cleanup, especially if mom is a working mom or ultra busy doing things for the family.
As for the cooking itself, plan for leftovers when cooking. You can serve them later in the week with a fresh salad for a quick to fix meal.
Make double batches of some main meal items and freeze the extra for later use – spaghetti sauce, chili, and soups are good candidates for this.
Use your crock pot/slow cooker. Got a busy day coming up? Start the meal early in the day (or at least the main part of the meal) to save time and hassle at dinnertime.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on providing good healthy home cooked meals for your family. Give them a try. See what other ideas you and your family can come up with. Get started now.