Get Their Input
Ask your kids what they want to eat. When kids are involved in the menu planning process, it makes them feel empowered and more likely to get on board with what you’re serving. If you’re on the 21 Day Fix plan, show them the menu planning book or print out the food list and have them circle the foods that they like.
Consider Your Time Constraints
If you’re a busy mom like I am, several nights out of the week leave little or no time for cooking. Take those nights into consideration when planning meals. Do a crock pot meal you can get ready before you leave for work or school in the morning, have a “planned leftovers” night, or make double batches when you cook so you can pull the second one out of the freezer on busy nights.
An on-the-go bag for snacks that you throw in your purse for afternoons when you’re running them to lessons and sports is another idea to help keep you all on track.
My son loves bananas. I leave them out on the counter so he can grab one whenever he wants. If it’s easily accessible, they are so much more likely to grab it. If your kids are old enough to handle a knife safely like mine are, you can even leave apples out on a cutting board for them. For the fridge, stock grapes, string cheese, and yogurt. Phase out the pantry junk food (cookies, crackers, chips, etc.) and add more healthy options they do like.
“Clean Up” their Favorite Foods
After you’ve asked them what they like, find healthier, cleaner ways to prepare those dishes. Instead of a box of Mac and Cheese, boil whole-grain noodles and make your own cheese sauce. Do they like tacos? Swap the hard shells for a soft whole-grain or corn tortilla, load up on beans instead of beef, and fill with leafy greens, rice and salsa instead of cheese. Pizza can be healthy too, if you use a thin whole-grain crust, load up on veggies and cut back on meat and cheese toppings.
Designate One Hour for Meal Prep
Get your whole family involved in meal prep before the week begins. Chop veggies, wash fruit, pre-portion snacks, etc. Make this a habit to do it every Sunday afternoon (or pick another time that’s convenient for you).