01 JAN 2023

Planning Makes Weekday Meals a Breeze

Three plastic lunch boxes with three compartments featuring variety of prepped snack like berries and nuts, carrots with ranch, hard-boiled eggs, and deli rolls.
Segmented lunch boxes are great for allowing variety in meal prepping to satisfy picky eaters.

Planning meals the family will enjoy day in and day out can be a real challenge, especially when parents and kids have busy schedules.

Meal prepping — or putting together several dishes at once to serve throughout the week — can help you manage busy schedules. But picky eaters may balk at the idea of repeats.

You can still meal prep for the week but please all tastes, suggests Laura O’Mary, registered dietitian for NorthBay Health.

“Make meal prep fun for kids by having them help you pack their own ‘lunch-ables’ where they get to customize what they include,” Laura said. “Use a bento box-style Tupperware container and fill it with items such as a hardboiled egg, apple slices with peanut butter, veggies with hummus, cheese with crackers, and a turkey sandwich cut into quarters. You can make two or three of these at a time.”

When working on a menu plan for the week, it's important to include a variety of foods for optimal nutrition, Laura said. “Each food has an entirely different set of vitamins and minerals which our bodies need, so try making two or three different dishes to rotate throughout the week or choosing two days during the week to meal prep, such as Sunday and Wednesday.” And remember: Most foods will only last in the fridge three to five days after being prepared.

Another tip is to set theme days for your meals. “For example, plan a ‘meatless Monday’ where you prepare something like a veggie stir fry with brown rice or black bean burgers. Tuesday could be “turkey Tuesday” where you prepare something with ground turkey such as turkey tacos or zucchini noodles with a ground turkey meat sauce, and so on.”

If you'd like more guidance on incorporating nutritious recipes and other healthy choices into your life, you can schedule an appointment with NorthBay Health dietitian, Laura O’Mary at (707) 624-7900.

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