The Benefits of Meal Planning
When it comes to raising a family, one of the hardest jobs is trying to come up with solutions for dinner every night, let alone trying to find the time to cook! Yet the single most important thing you can do for you and your family’s health is to cook and eat at home!
Home Cooked Meals Contain –
- Less Salt
- Less Sugar
- Fewer Calories
- More Nutrients
- Less Preservatives
- Less Chemicals
- No Artificial Dyes
Cooking at home gives you control over the quality of your family’s food. By planning out meals, you can balance out nutrient-dense foods throughout the week giving your family the healthiest food choices for growing minds and bodies.
Meal planning can be enjoyable and you will find that it becomes easier and easier with a little practice. Planning ahead for the upcoming week is going to make you feel accomplished and organized.
There are so many benefits and advantages to cooking and serving our families home-cooked meals that you will see it is well worth your time and effort.
In addition to better health for your family, a few of the biggest advantages to planning meals is it will save you money and LESS STRESS! And who doesn’t want more money and less stress?
Read on to see our top 10 benefits to planning family meals.
Top Ten Benefits of Having Family Meals Together and Planning Family Meals
- Kids of all ages need and love family rituals. Kids also thrive on daily routines. In this hectic world that we live in, sitting down to a family meal at 6:00 every night is stable and familiar.
- Eating family meals together provides children with a well-needed sense of security and belonging.
- Much, much better nutrition! Any meal cooked at home is pretty much guaranteed to be healthier than eating fast food or take-out.
- According to experts, a family that eats together regularly is more likely to consume more fruits and vegetables and less fried foods and soft drinks.
- Children and teens are less likely to develop addictive habits such as drugs, alcohol or smoking.
- Children who feel important to their family are more likely to have a greater sense of self-confidence and are less likely to give into peer pressure.
- Saves money on groceries. Save tons of money and time when you shop with a grocery list. Sticking to a plan can help you save money and time each month by reducing random buying and countless trips to the grocery store. Want a better dinner hour? Have a better plan!
- Parents can control what ingredients go into home-cooked foods. Salt is becoming a nightmare as high sodium levels are now being linked to high blood pressure in children from eating so much fast food.
- Children who eat meals together with their family have been found to do better academically.
- This is a great time to teach children communication skills. Lots of chatter at the dinner table and adult conversation gives kids an edge with verbal communication skills.
Teach proper nutrition – raising healthier children to become healthy adults by teaching children the importance of proper nutrition. By offering a variety of foods each week children learn to accept all food groups more readily. Get children involved in picking out healthy recipes.
Read labels with your children explaining sodium levels, different ingredients, and also the importance eating fresh foods with no additives. Children tend to mimic their parent’s eating habits and will take these habits with them into adulthood as well.
Weight Control. Kids are less likely to have weight problems when parents help develop proper eating habits.
Proper Portion Control. It is much easier to get portion sizes under control by cooking and eating at home. The world has gone crazy with super-sizing our food and we really don’t need to eat that much in one sitting. This is a great opportunity to show kids well-balanced and well-portioned food.
Proper Table Manners – Proper table manners are taught at the kitchen or dining room table. Waiting until everyone is served, no chewing with your mouth open, etc… are important manners to learn at a young age.
* Children cherish time together with their parents and family dinner hour provides the perfect opportunity to spend time listening to each child. Staying connected with family is one of the reasons why children excel.
Make Family Meals Enjoyable
- Turn of all electronic devices. (Yes, this includes the TV.)
- Never argue or bring up unpleasant conversations. We all need to relax and this is the perfect opportunity. Strive on making dinner hour fun. This is a time to laugh with your family.
- Always eat at the dinner table and not in front of a TV.
- Celebrate achievements. Make a cake or cupcakes and celebrate even the smallest accomplishments in your children’s life.
Unfortunately, there is no set formula for meal planning; no mysterious trick that you have yet to discover. It is more a self-discipline, routine task that impacts your household budget, frees time, and encourages healthy eating habits.
How to Make Daily Dinner Hour Easier
- Once a week, make a menu for all the dinners you will serve for the coming week.
- Try to include all the major entree groups such as beef, pork, chicken, and pasta.
- Review each of the recipes and list all the items you need to purchase at the store. Be sure to include the vegetables and side dishes that compliment your meals.
- Your goal is to shop only once a week, so organization is the key to your success.
- Have kids help with meal preparations. There are so many easy things that kids can do to make cooking the actual dinner run smoother for the chef! But remember to make it fun. No one likes a grouchy chef.
- Shopping List. Have a weekly shopping list and stick to it. This is where you save money. Impulse buys are a thing of the past. With your dinners carefully planned, you will walk right by the expensive frozen dinners and packaged foods. Take your coupons and buy the store brand when you can to save even more.
Your shopping time will be shorter because now you are organized. You know what you want and where to find it. No more wandering around thinking, “What can we have for dinner tonight?” for you! You have planned an entire week’s worth of meals. You are in and you are out – fast.
Save money, eat healthier, and have more free time – three resolutions that can be kept by planning your meals! It will also result in spending more time with your family! Good luck!
GET YOUR FREE WEEKLY MEAL PLAN RIGHT NOW!