Monthly Meal Planning
It can be frustrating to find yourself out of energy at the end of the day, with nothing left to prepare a hearty, home-cooked meal for you and your family. You can, however, utilize meal planning to enjoy great meals every night. Read on to discover how a whole day's worth of cooking can set you up for the weeks ahead.
Why Monthly Meal Planning Makes Sense
Living in a fast paced world is part of the reason fast food restaurants are thriving in our economy. It certainly seems at times we simply don’t have the time to stop and cook lunch or dinner for our families anymore. Having given it our all during the day, we often get home, plop down in a chair and try to relax for an hour or so before falling asleep. If there was a way to have lunches and dinners prepared every night without the typical stress, would you be interested?
Actually, you can have high quality meals ready every night without lifting a finger to prepare them that day. Monthly meal planning is something many people are trying on for size. Once a month, preferably on the weekend, you spend an entire day cooking meals to freeze for the days ahead.
Sure, a month’s worth of food may be hard to make in a day, and even more difficult to store. The alternative is to pare down to a weekly meal plan then. Same principle, only this time you’re only preparing meals for a week at a time. Spending one day cooking and having meals prepared for the rest of the week is a bonus for busy families. It’s takes away much of the stress involved with planning healthy meals on the spur of the moment, wouldn’t you say?
You’ll have to make friends with your freezer, though. Freezing is an important component of monthly or weekly meal planning, and it can be a challenge to organize this part of the process well. The problem is, you have to utilize every inch of storage space you’ve got. People who adopt this type of meal planning long-term often purchase a deep freezer or a separate stand-alone freezer to keep their meals in.
You’ll have to consider the amount of space available before you start to create recipes and meal plans. There are tips and shortcuts to consider, too. For example, if you’re freezing items like pancakes or berries, it helps to lay them out and flash freeze them first, then bag them up afterwards. If you don’t, you’ll often end up with a solid mass of frozen pancakes. Unless you want to eat 30 pancakes at a time, it helps to lay them out first.
Reheating is easy when you’ve frozen food properly. Some dishes may need to be cooked all the way, like casseroles. Then, you can simply reheat in the oven on 250 degrees for about 25 minutes. Other dishes, like lasagna, can be left un-baked so they’ll taste fresh after they’ve baked for around 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Usually, recipes include proper reheating instructions for such conditions, so be sure to check there first for instructions on how to reheat them.
Strategies like this make fixing healthy meals for your family simple and less stressful. It’s a much better alternative to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich between practice and bedtime. You can have great tasting meals to sit down to every day of the week; it just takes a little foresight and planning. Grab some of your favorite recipes and a free weekend to prepare a week’s worth of meals your family will love.