This is Part 2 of my meal planning series
There are plenty of online services that provide family meal plans, recipes, and grocery lists. And while I think this can work for some people, I just find it odd being told what meals to make and what ingredients to use. I mean, beef stroganoff on Wednesday — really?
I could devote this series to healthy family meals you “should” make but that would be of little help. Only you know your own cooking abilities, family’s taste preferences, and comfort using certain ingredients. So when it comes to finding rewarding meals for your family, you are the best judge!
In part one of our family meal planning series, we talked about overcoming barriers to getting healthy meals on the table. In part 2, we are focusing on how to find meals that are perfect for your family.
Create a home for recipes
Your most cherished recipes and meal ideas need a home. I’ve started to use this recipe book that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago. The idea is to try out a recipe and if it turns out well, add it to the recipe book. For example, if I add a recipe from a cookbook I write the page number down in my recipe book so it’s easy to find. And when I print recipes off the internet, I store them in a red folder and write “red folder” in the recipe book (see examples below – sorry about the second picture, I had the choice of retaking it or going to bed).
As parents, our brains are in overuse mode already. By putting all of your favorite meals in one spot, you won’t have to rely on yourself to remember what they are.
Become a Recipe Collector
I recently spoke to a friend who doesn’t use recipes. She says she starts dinner sautéing garlic and olive oil and just throws in different items. I, on the other hand, need the framework of a recipe to function in the kitchen. The idea is to find recipes or meal ideas you feel comfortable making. If you are a beginner cook, for example, simple slow cooker recipes might be good for you. But if you are more advanced, you might only use a recipe for inspiration.
You can find recipes anywhere — cookbooks, the internet, and magazines. The internet makes it so easy to find – and store — recipes. Some of my favorites are All Recipes, My Recipes, and Cooks which allow you to see how the meals are rated and the comments people have. You’ll also get your share of easy and healthy recipes here.
Look for a variety of recipes that are nutritious and taste good
In my recipe book, I separate recipes into categories such as Mexican, Italian, Meat, Beans, Veggies, and Fish. So if you don’t have any fish meals, for example, look for recipes that sound good and try it one night. The key is to collect a variety of meals.
When it comes to nutrition, aim for meals that are made with unsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados. Also make sure to include lean meats, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. I use saturated fats less often but will sometimes cook with butter and we love cheese around here. It’s not about getting it perfect every time. Some of our meals are higher in fat but I’ll serve them less often. Others might be high in sodium, but again, this isn’t an every night occurrence. It’s all about balancing nutrition, taste, and ease of preparation.
Read: If I had to start from scratch feeding my kids, here’s what I’d do
Practice, practice, practice
I absolutely hate when a new meal is disappointing. I know when my husband asks, “where did you get this recipe?” I’m in trouble. But I’ve learned that the failures are part of discovering which meals work for my family.
How do you know when a new meal passes the test? If I waited for my daughter’s approval we’d be eating burritos, meatballs, and bean soup every night. So the verdict falls on whether or not my husband and I like it and it’s kid-friendly. This means it’s easy to chew, has a nice flavor, and isn’t super-spicy.
So if you haven’t been doing this already, make a nice home for your recipes and continually add to it. If you haven’t had much success you might be choosing the wrong types of recipes for you.
What are you doing right now? Do you have a system for storing recipes that work well? Any cookbooks or websites you recommend?
Next: 5 Secrets to the Perfect Weekly Meal Plan
Previous: Top 5 Barriers to Making Meals Happen
Want more ideas on how to keep the meals coming? Check out Maryann’s book The Family Dinner Solution: How to Create a Rotation of Dinner Meals Your Family Will Love
I am using recepes from sparks.com. They are easy and healthy.
i also have an empty (when i bought it) vintage recipe book i found at a secondhand store that is continually filled. I have a seperate notebook that has recipe that I’ve tested and taken notes on changing and altering to my tastes. i also post favorites – and a few non-favorites- on my food blog.
for inspiration i have a handful of favorite food blogs that i follow, and i love renting out cookbooks from the library that inspire my palate.
Just found your website and enjoying it so far!
Easy healthy recipes says
Whether you are having a friendly game night, watching the must see game on TV, or just enjoying the time with friends, you will no doubt enjoy some food at some time.Being competent with food is a great thing due to the fact that you can have the same meal many times without even feeling bored with the dish; this is most helpful chiefly when you treasure one particular class of food. We all want healthy food on a platter, and healthy food should be appetizing.There’s no time like these times to have some fun with foods.
ادارة محافظ استثمارية says
Excellent site. Plenty of helpful info here. I’m sending it
to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank
you to your sweat!
Heya! I realize this is kind of off-topic but I needed
to ask. Does operating a well-established blog like yours take
a large amount of work? I am completely new to operating a
blog however I do write in my diary everyday. I’d like to
start a blog so I can easily share my personal experience and thoughts online.
Please let me know if you have any kind of
recommendations or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers.
mapa satelital says
This is really fascinating, You’re a very professional blogger.
I’ve joined your rss feed and look ahead to in search of more of
your wonderful post. Additionally, I have shared your web site in my social networks
trądzik zioła says
Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to
your blog? My blog is in the exact same nich
as yours and my visitors would certainly benefit from some of the information you provide here.
Please let me know if this ok with you. Appreciate it!
Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD says
Sure that is fine. Just link to my original article. Thanks!