Today we are diving into one of my 8 Fundamental Needs, meal planning. Not just any meal planning but cooking 3 healthy meals from scratch every day. I know this is a thorn in so many of your sides but hold tight because I’ve figured out a system and a routine to make it happen and save you time. Even as a busy work-from-home mom with two kids, a husband, a business, and a home to run I was able to create a healthy meal routine to put three clean meals on the table every day!
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
6 Steps For A Healthy Meal Routine
I’m going to break my healthy meal routine down into 6 steps, but before we get into that you need to have the right foundation. I realized I can’t control my own goals and my own health let alone my children’s if I’m not truly sitting down and figuring out what I’m going to be feeding everybody on a regular basis.
The foundation to all of this is found in my meal planning post. It truly is the first step of what I’m telling you here today. All of this is hinged upon the fact that I know my family’s favorites. We have worked together to create meal cards. This means that when I go to the grocery store I know exactly what I need to get and where it is.
I don’t want cooking to consume so much of my time. I don’t want cooking to be taking away from cleaning my house or spending time with my kids or having time for my business. If this is happening to you I suggest you make this a very high priority and action item in your life over the next couple of weeks.
I do this whole healthy meal routine in one fell swoop but you can split it up over two days. Just make sure it is done before Monday. Don’t put it off on the weekend because you do X,Y, and Z with your family and then you show up on Monday and your husband is at work, and you don’t have any food in the fridge. This system should be a non-negotiable. So here are the 6 steps to my healthy meal routine.
The first thing I do is inventory my fridge and pantry. Healthy meals on your table start in your fridge. To do this I take everything out of the fridge every week, wipe down the shelves, and take note of what I have. I throw everything out that is expired and set aside anything that is going to expire soon. I don’t inventory these items but I know it has to be eaten in the next couple of days.
You are literally taking everything out and counting how many eggs you have, how much lunch meat, and checking if the berries are still good. If you are not doing this you are going to be wasting food. You have to have this step done before you move on to number two.
2. Plan and Shop
This along with step one is what will keep you from wasting food. I’m learning to buy produce in bulk and stretching it longer. If the broccoli is about to go bad I know it needs to be used on Monday instead of Tuesday.
If I have some ground beef and shredded cheese I know I can make a nacho bowl for my family and that I just need to put olives and maybe scallions on the shopping list. When you are done with this step you should have a full grocery list. You can either take a hard break here or go right into step number three.
When I first started doing this routine it took me a long time and I broke it up in two days. Now I’m much more efficient and do the entire routine at once.
3. Bulk Shop Every Two Weeks
My bulk grocery shopping is done every two weeks at Costco and at my local natural grocer on the off weeks. We live close to a Costco and we don’t have a deep freeze. If you did have more freezer space you could do your bulk shopping even less often.
I get all of my organic produce from Costco now. All of my berries and all of my greens are 100% organic and from Costco. It’s amazing and I can stretch them. My broccoli, green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, fruit, all of it is lasting us two weeks.
On those off weeks I’m running in to grab one or two things at Sprouts. This has reduced my grocery bill by about $80-$100 per week which is blowing my mind. It really is saving us so much money and time.
So you get your groceries, you come home and then move into step number four.
So when you get home you prep all your food. Maybe you’re freezing some green beans, or blanching, or steaming some. I buy enough bananas for two weeks. I let them brown and then put them in the freezer for smoothies. Now I’m not constantly running to the store for bananas for my morning smoothie. I also freeze my spinach for smoothies to last me two weeks.
Those are the little efficiencies you should be looking for when you are problem solving why it is so hard for you to get healthy food on the table. Figure out how you can make little tweaks to get you further down the road for all of your meals.
You can also look for healthy swaps. Instead of cereal for your kids we get whole grain snack rounds for our girls that last weeks in the fridge. So number four is prep and then you take your prepped food and move onto number five.
“Those are the little efficiencies you should be looking for when you are problem solving why it is so hard for you to get healthy food on the table. Figure out how you can make little tweaks to get you further down the road for all of your meals.”
This is straight forward. Put like items together in your fridge and place them so they are easily accessible to those who need them. Then number six might seem ridiculous but it is non-negotiable.
If you’re using the menu cards meal planning system that will be your communication. It will be up on the board for everyone to see. You also should do a quick run through with your husband and kids. “Hey I prepped hard-boiled eggs. Your yogurt is here, your granola is here. There is lunch meat here.” I literally do an audible run-through of the inventory with the fridge open with my husband Blaine at my shoulder.
I do it for the girls too. You should be communicating this with all your kids even your little ones. They will then go to the fridge before they go to the pantry for a snack if you are showing them where all the things are.
Just constantly communicate that over and over and over and over again. Then for lunch time everybody comes in to help out and knows where everything is. We have the exact same thing every single week. We do the same thing over and over again and it’s super routine.
Make Small Changes
So to recap, here are the 6 steps to my healthy food routine and getting clean food on the table as a busy work-from-home mom 3 times a day.
- Plan and shop
- Bulk shop every two weeks
- Organize the fridge
I hope this helps you get a little bit better and then a little bit better the next week. Maybe in the next 4-6 weeks, you will feel incredibly confident with your ability to master your own healthy food routine and get clean food on the table every day even as a busy work-from-home mom.
Share with me where you are at on your journey and any great healthy meals you have for your family over in our Facebook group! If you love this system and want all of the systems I use to run my home, my business, and support my family, come find out my details on the Systemize Your Life Academy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Fundamental Needs
Fundamental Needs are the core needs you have to have in your schedule every week in order to thrive. These things should be scheduled into your Google Calendar. I also call them my Great 8. Try my free download so you can identify yours!