It is challenging enough to plan your meal during ordinary times. This challenge is elevated even further when the frantic pace of the holiday season arrives. You can tackle this task with confidence if you have the right tools and knowledge in place. Here are 8 ways that you can plan meal during the busy holiday season.
Have a Plan
Effective meal planning starts with organization. This organization is even more important when you are short on time. Having a plan will help you to stay on track and organize your thoughts. An integral part of the planning process is keeping a running grocery list. This will help to prevent spending too much or inadvertently wasting food.
Leverage Your Calendar
The cornerstone of having a plan is leveraging your calendar to stay organized. Before you begin a meal plan, you need to take inventory of what is on your calendar each evening. With holiday parties, school concerts, and other special events, it is likely that you will not have the time to make sit-down meals every night of the week.
Plan Meals that Can Be Pushed Back
You are going to inevitably have to adjust your schedule as things pop up. Because of this, you want to be careful not to lock yourself into a strict meal plan for the week. Rather than planning meals with specific ingredients that will spoil if you do not use them by a specified date, be sure to sprinkle in some meals that you can easily push back to the next week if the unexpected happens in your schedule.
There is no better way to provide a week’s worth of nutritious meals for your family than by taking the time over the weekend to meal prep. Even if you do not have time to prep full meals for consumption later, there are a lot of little things that you can do to help your weekly meal prep go more smoothly.
Washing and chopping up vegetables, pre-cooking some chicken breasts to use in meals, making school lunches, or cooking a big pot of beans will all help to make this part of life a little easier.
Double Your Recipes and Freeze
If you do not have a day to meal prep for the week, you can achieve the same goal by doubling up on the recipes of some of your favorite meals and freezing them for later use. For example, if you are making spaghetti sauce, simply double the recipe and freeze a batch for use next week. This is an easy way to ensure that you always have grab and go meals ready to go in your freezer.
Lean on the Experts
If all of this seems overwhelming to you, you would be wise to consider leaning on the meal planning experts to help you in your quest to put healthy meals on the table during this crazy time.
Using a service such as PlateJoy will help you to get through this time with its custom meal plans, personalized recipes, and comprehensive grocery lists. You can even order your groceries directly through the service so that you can avoid stepping into the crowded stores.
Stock Your Freezer and Pantry
It is much easier to get creative with on the fly meals when you have a full freezer and pantry. Keeping these stocked with all of the essentials will ensure that you are able to find what you need without having to add a grocery stop to the list of things to do.
Good items to keep in your pantry include beans, rice, pasta, polenta, soup broth, and the appropriate spices and baking essentials. Your freezer should include items such as ground beef or turkey, ravioli, rolls, vegetables, and fruit.
Break Out the Slow Cooker
There has never been a better time to use your slow cooker. Not only is the cooler weather conducive to the hearty and comforting meals that you can prepare with this device, but a slow cooker is also a great way to save time with your meal prep. Simply assemble your ingredients in the morning and you will have a hot meal waiting for you when the family arrives home at the end of a hectic day.
You do not have to rely on the fast food drive-thru during the holidays. Implementing these tips will ensure that your family continues to eat wholesome meals during this busy time.