If you’re ready to dial in the menu board meal planning system then you are going to love taking it a level deeper. Here are 3 quick tips on how I make healthy meals happen on the fly. I also share the repeat grocery list I reuse week after week that my husband and I both know like the back of our hands. Plus I gave you access to my own personal clean-eating meal plan that adapts to the whole family!! Sharing easy tips in order to help you with healthy meal ideas for the entire family.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
Healthy Meal Ideas for the Entire Family
As work-from-home moms, typically we are the ones who are bearing the weight of making sure that food is on the table most of the time. It is a huge undertaking to always make sure people are fed with things that we feel good about putting inside of their bodies and our bodies. Not to mention, just making sure we are not just eating our children’s leftovers and actually preparing a meal for ourselves, let alone hitting the goals for our nutrition that we want. I am breaking all of that down for you.
There is a disclaimer to this. If you have not listened to the menu board meal planning system episode back in the archives, then you should listen to that one too. This is not a replacement for my meal planning system. This just takes it a whole level deeper. There is a unit inside of my Facebook group that guides you through how I plan meals for my entire family. Whenever I say plan meals for my family, that means I’m putting dinners together, I know what I’m doing, and I’m making sure I have a list when I go to the grocery store for the meals I have planned.
Don’t Sacrifice Quality When You Are Short On Time
Let’s be real. I am super busy and I think you are too. I’m not about to sit and scour over my cookbooks. I also don’t want to sit in my kitchen for hours on end cooking these elaborate meals. It’s just not a reality for me right now. I prioritize my time for other things. That does not mean that I am sacrificing the quality and the quantity of food that I put on the table for me and my family.
When I started the menu board system, what came of that is an extremely predictable system for when I go to the store and when I create meals. This is an even more hyper-focused, simplified version of let’s get real serious about what we are eating on a regular basis. It is the foundation of everything that I do.
This is what rides me through my week no matter how busy it is. I start with this every time. If something happens and I can’t get my meal cards out, this is my go-to and I have it memorized like the back of my hand. My husband and kids have come to depend on these meals and they know what they are and it is beautiful.
I have dialed in my grocery list and this system for being able to feed my family and keep up with my eating goals at the same time. First and foremost, I need you to start writing down your staples. I am going to give you mine, but I want you to come up with your own. What is the foundation of everything that you eat on a regular basis and what do you want it to look like?
Dial in the Go Tos
If you haven’t gotten to your ideal, learn my menu board system. That will help you dial in your go-to meals that your family loves without a fuss. Inside of your staples, I want you to make sure it really is hitting the nutritional goals you want for your entire family. You are going to have all of your staples on hand at all times.
Make it a bit easier
The second part of that, is I want you to be ok with buying things that are pre-chopped or prepared, for you. This is one of a number of ways that I outsource. I let the store make my meals for me. Is there an extra cost for that? Yes, but we have made sure we have worked that in as part of our outsourcing. Do I make sure I shop at stores where the pre-made meals don’t have a ton of preservatives in them? Absolutely. Trader Joe’s and Sprouts are trustworthy most of the time, but I still read every single label. I read every label because I want to know what I am putting in my body and in the bodies of my family.
I saw this incredible post that took all of these brands from a traditional store and it showed the price difference between their brand, versus the Target brand organic, and it was actually cheaper! If you take the time to do your homework to set up this foundation, you can find the best price for the healthiest option. Write out the list of staples and what you can get pre-made or pre-prepped, and what stores can you shop at that makes it a little easier for you than Target or Walmart. You have to weed through so much more at those stores than at a local health food store.
If all you have is Whole Foods, look at your budget. They are extremely overpriced. They do have their own brand that is a little more inexpensive, but you will have to be more careful there. My dad lives in a really small town and he only has Walmart. They have amazing options there but you just have to get to know your store and know it’s going to take you more time the first time you go to dive in and look at labels and get it squared away.
My Repeat Grocery List for Healthy Meal Ideas
Here is my repeat grocery list. I use this list over and over and over again. I’m to the point I don’t even have to write it out. How I have my list broken up is going to really give you a clue as to what my own meal plan really is. This is the foundation for my entire family. We have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I have go-tos for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, but my dinner is broken up into 3 categories. We are going to start with dinner. I have a category for greens, protein, and a category for clean carbs. On a piece of paper, write down dinner, and then 3 sections under that saying protein, greens, and clean carbs. Every week for greens, I get green beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, and avocado. Avocado just gets thrown in there.
Healthy Meal Ideas – Greens
The green beans I get in a steamer bag. Do I love that? No, but it’s much quicker. The other greens all get cooked and bought fresh. Each of them gets put in a cast iron skillet with coconut oil and liberal salt. Brussels sprouts and broccoli get roasted at 400 for 30 minutes and come out tasting like the best thing you have had in your life. Asparagus and zucchini are at the same temperature but it’s about 8 to 10 minutes to cook time. We do this every week. If your kids aren’t eating greens yet, put one piece on their plate cut it up and try it. Just be happy it is on their plate. What matters is that they get used to seeing it on their plate and at some point, they will try it. Then you can tell them what we tell them, “you can either love it or like it”. Blane’s motto is you have to try everything twice. When we don’t have any of those cooked greens, we do a side of avocado. It’s still green on their plate.
Healthy Meal Ideas – Protein
Here is the protein list. I have 6 of these as well. The first protein I have every single week is rotisserie chicken. I can buy a rotisserie chicken with no hormones and no additives for the same price I can buy one that isn’t cooked. Bet your buttons I am buying the one that is already cooked! I save the bones then I make bone broth out of it. I have ground organic beef, and ground organic turkey, I always get a sausage, sometimes chicken sausage, sometimes pork. Then we will always have one to two prepared types of meat on hand. I’ll buy orange chicken from Trader Joe, or the fajitas from Trader Joe’s. That just helps me to not have to cook meat one to two nights a week. We use protein for all different kinds of meals. Sometimes if I don’t want to do ground turkey, I’ll go with turkey cutlets or drumsticks.
Healthy Meal Ideas – Clean Carbs
What do my clean carbs look like? Sweet potatoes at all times, brown rice or white rice, gluten-free pasta, potatoes, some type of potato medley, and spaghetti squash. I always have these things on hand to be able to just whip any one of these items. Our plate consists of protein, green, and clean carbs. Done. That is on our plates every night of the week. What happens if it’s taco night? Well, I planned for that, and that goes on top of these staples. These staples don’t cover every single meal seven days a week. If I don’t plan any other meals, these staples with get us through at least 5 nights out of the week, then we will run to Chipotle one night on our busy weeks. This is a fail-proof way to make sure we eat at home at least 5 nights out of the week. For me, it feels like we are killing it if we do that.
“Summer vacation should be a time when your kids are happy, you are happy, your house is well-kept, and you can still have a lot of fun while you are still making progress or maintaining.”
Healthy Meal Ideas – Breakfast
There are 8 things I have as a staple for breakfast. Eggs, lots of eggs, breakfast meats like sausage and bacon, turkey bacon, some kind of chicken breakfast sausage, usually not pork. I always have a spring mix on hand, it tastes like you are eating butter and it is amazing. When you get spring mix, it’s all the baby greens and they are so tender. I also get keto breakfast sandwiches. I don’t eat keto, I eat more paleo, the only difference is the cheese. My husband loves it, I just take my cheese off. I’ll put it with roasted bell pepper or a side of greens, depending on which one I have prepped. We always have berries.
If you are not on the organic berry train you should be. There are so many reasons to be, but if the only reason you do it is for taste, you will never need another reason. Pick up a package of organic strawberries and smell it. It smells like heaven. We don’t get a bunch because they are expensive, it’s just a little treat and everyone gets a small hand full in the mornings. Then we have breakfast carbs. Birch Benders paleo pancakes, can get on Amazon or Costco, or health food stores. Hash brown patties, gluten-free waffles, and traditional bagels. I love Dave’s Bread, his brand has so much protein, it is unreal so we get that or snack rounds with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Then if you are doing dairy, greek yogurt, and if you are not doing dairy, goat or cashew yogurt is my go-to.
Healthy Meal Ideas – Lunch
I always have bagged salad on hand that I can just dump in a bowl, mix with my dressing, put some rotisserie chicken on it and I’m done. We always have stuff for sandwiches on hand and leftovers. Those are the staples for lunch.
Healthy Meal Ideas – Snacks
I always have fruit on hand. Apples, oranges, bananas, all the berries, and two seasonal fruits. I always have fruit because I want my kids to go to what is in the fridge before they go to what is in the pantry. Veggies, snacking carrots, snacking cucumbers, bell peppers cut up, green beans, frozen peas, and corn for the little ones. They love it! We also have grain-free chips and tortilla chips. We have bars on hand, I am looking for a bar that has the same amount or more protein than carb ratio. You will find it very hard to do. I really love Perfect bars. We also have nuts on hand and mostly for me chia seed pudding. We also will have some type of traditional snack. For example, peanut butter crackers, popcorn, green pea snacks, pretzels, plantains, and things a little more processed I keep in the pantry.
Sauces and condiments
I always keep on hand peanut butter, jelly, a paleo ranch, paleo buffalo sauce, salsa, mayo, honey mustard, and sometimes catsup.
I always keep everything on hand for my smoothies which is a bonus. This leads me right to my personal meal plan.
And then there’s sugar…
Here is what I do most of the time. I shoot for my version of a paleo. I allow myself to have some added sugar because I am a sugarholic hardcore. I’ll sometimes have a couple of Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups at the end of the day or this amazing candy bar that is dairy free with some dairy-free caramel. I also allow myself to have rice and potatoes but that is because I know my body type and I know the way that it responds. It doesn’t pack on the pounds, it doesn’t flair up my auto-immune issues.
It’s all about balance
I’ve tested it over time. You will have to do that with yourself and you will have to create your own goals that you have with food. Right now, I am full paleo two days of the week, all the other days I am full paleo except for one meal I allow myself to have grains then I give myself one cheat day. I am able to adjust each meal and if the family is having burgers, I leave off the bun and turn it into a bowl. Boom paleo. It helps me not have to cook a separate meal for myself and I can eat the same thing as the rest of my family.
I know this was a lot. I want you to make your own static grocery list. Steal mine if you want then come over and share it inside of the Facebook group. I want to see this go-to list you are going to have as the foundation you build on! Also, come check out The Systemize Your Life Academy and learn all the things to help your busy schedule become systemized.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I adjust my schedule to help plan for myself?
I have so many resources for managing your schedule to make your goals a priority! The best place to start is my FREE Time Blocking Workbook. In the Time Blocking workbook, you can learn the basics of time blocking for work-from-home moms, build the right time blocks for your schedule, and practice your first try at time blocking on paper! Stay strong mama, we’re all rooting for you!