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Filling Nutritional Gaps

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Article Highlights

  • Eating clean is when you eat fresh, whole foods and eliminate what’s artificial or processed.
  • Stretching leftovers throughout the week is a great way to save money and eat healthy.
  • Prioritizing your health as a parent is not something you should ever feel guilty about.
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Clean Eating Family Meal Plan

The term ‘clean eating’ refers to choosing whole foods instead of processed, artificial foods. It’s not a diet, but rather a lifestyle that you can share with your whole family. Starting a clean eating family meal plan is very possible (1). 

When you prepare and eat fresh, whole food based meals you will enjoy a more nutritious diet and eliminate fats, sugars, and other junk that can be found in processed foods. And by cleaning up your diet, you might see results like boosted energy, a clearer mind, better moods, and improved overall health. 

Clean eating meal plans for beginners involves a few simple steps like encouraging home-cooked meals instead of pre-packaged meals or fast food. These meals include vegetables, fruit, proteins, healthy fats, and grains. Instead of focusing on convenient foods to eat, this lifestyle instead places more emphasis on mealtimes and preparing for them. 

But preparing for every single meal can get draining, and we understand that. That’s why there’s such a thing as a 21 day clean eating meal plan, or other meal planning ideas for families. You won’t be stuck having to think of clean meal ideas on your own. There’s plenty of help out there for you! 

When you’re eating clean, you want to focus on the good carbs. The good carbs include: Sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, corn, beans, oatmeal, rice, barley, quinoa, and millet. 

And of course, place a heavy focus on the vegetables. You can’t go wrong there - but organic is always the best option. The same holds true for fruit - any is good, but the organic options are great. You can also enjoy frozen or dried fruit options. 

For meats and seafood, here are some good choices: Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, duck, seafood, and fish. 

Incorporating any type of eggs into your clean diet is a good choice as well. And you can cook them any way you like! 

You can also include full fat dairy, as these things contain healthy fatty acids that the body needs. Include things like: Milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. 

As for healthy fats and oils, look for: Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, and ghee. 

Healthy Family Meals For A Week

You can easily set yourself up with a week of healthy meals with a 7 day family meal plan. If you do all of the meal prep work on a Sunday, you’ll be able to put healthy food on the table every night for your family - no matter how busy you are. And by promoting healthy family meals for a week, every week, your family will get a more balanced diet and have better overall health because of it. 

Weeknights get busy in most everyone’s houses. Especially if you have kids, it’s likely that everyone is running everywhere, has someplace to be, or something to do. You’re tired after a long day of work and the last thing you want to do is put thought into a complex dinner. But you also don’t want to feed your family junk every night. And that’s where the 7 day clean eating meal plan comes in (2). 

The goal is to get the family stress down to a manageable level, to a place where all of you can actually enjoy eating dinner together instead of just throwing a few odds and ends on the table. Planning and meal prepping on a Sunday prevents chaos in the kitchen and allows weeknights to go at a slower, more tolerable pace. 

You can also take meal prep one step at a time. If you don’t have the wherewithal to cook and store entire meals on Sunday, just cook little bits that you can add to bigger things. You can make homemade dressing to use all week long, make a simple veggie casserole, or chop and cook some veggies that you can slip into a few of the weeknight meals. As you can see, there can also be a 7-day family meal plan vegetarian edition, too. 

Take a look at this sample dinner menu: 

Monday - Cheese quesadillas with peppers and onions, citrus slaw

Tuesday - One-pot Greek pasta

Wednesday - Easy chicken enchilada casserole

Thursday - Philly cheesesteak sloppy joes and spinach salad

Friday - Slow-cooker pasta e fagioli soup freezer pack 

Healthy Family Meal Plans With Grocery List

It can be hard to know where to start with meal prepping and healthy eating, but a weekly meal planner with a grocery list can help. Having a healthy weekly meal plan with a grocery list allows you to go to the store feeling prepared knowing exactly what you’re going to get, and it allows little room for the temptation of grabbing everything but the kitchen sink. 

It’s not easy coming up with creative meals to cook, either. If you go to the store without a list and without any ideas in mind, you will probably come up blank. With so many options in front of you, you might suddenly forget everything you know how to cook. That’s why healthy family meal plans with grocery lists included always work out better. 

To think of a monthly grocery list for a family of 4, first you should start out by considering what foods complement each other. You could also think about what foods make the best leftovers, so you’re not stuck eating eggs or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for 3 days in a row if you run out of ideas! After you get the hang of making a 30 day meal plan with a grocery list, the food items will come to mind easier because you know what your family loves and what they could do without.

Another great perk of heading to the store with a list in tow is the fact that it saves you money. With a list, you have a set group of items that you’re going to buy. You’re less likely to stray from the list and start buying whatever calls to you and spending more money than you have. Also, by meal prepping, you’re lowering the amount of times that you give in and order a pizza throughout the week. That can save you some major bucks. 

It’s possible to create a weekly meal planner with a grocery list on a budget, because the goal of this concept in the first place is to help you save money. 

Healthy Family Meal Plans On A Budget

Whether you’re saving up for something big or simply don’t want to splurge on food every week, don’t worry. It’s very possible to create weekly meal plans on a budget. Family meal planning on a budget is almost identical to meal planning in general, but you’re just keeping prices in mind, along with what you can use for leftovers (3). 

In order to start creating your healthy family meal plans on a budget, start scanning the weekly grocery deals. The most costly items on your list are most likely proteins like chicken and beef, so you can build a list around the items that are on sale. You can also choose seasonal produce, because that tends to be cheaper. 

The next step towards creating healthy family meals on a budget is keeping a stock of cheap staples. Keeping things like eggs and canned tuna on hand means that you can use them in multiple meals. Keep an eye out for deals and stock up on these filler items when they go on sale. 

Another way to prepare for a 7 day family meal plan on a budget is to consider writing in a few meatless meals. Plant-based proteins are much cheaper than animal proteins, and they’re also good for your health. 

An essential part of a healthy meal plan for a family of 4 on a budget is themed dinner nights. You can do slow-cooker Sundays, meatless Mondays, or stir-fry Fridays based on the stapes that you have in your pantry. This is a good way to stick to your budget and reduce the fatigue that comes with meal planning. 

Don’t forget to stretch the leftovers as far as you can! You can make the leftovers from dinner into tomorrow’s lunch, or transform whatever is left into dinner for another night. You can make loaded potatoes with leftover chili, make a frittata with cooked spaghetti noodles, or burritos with leftover roasted chicken. 

Family Weight Loss Diet Plan

As a parent, you may feel like you have no time left in the day for yourself, and that you’ve used it all up taking care of everyone else. But it is possible to create a diet plan for weight loss by simply tweaking all of your meals. It can make a big difference with achieving your health goals and losing weight in a healthy way (4). 

Whether you’re looking to create a 7-day diet plan for weight loss or a 30-day meal plan for weight loss, the first thing you should do is prioritize protein and fiber. This is something you can do instead of eliminating carbohydrates (because those give you energy), and these will keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Adding healthy fats to the proteins and fibers will also help you feel satisfied and full throughout the day and not starving an hour after you eat. 

Another good tip for making a family weight loss diet plan is to aim for set mealtimes. Many people fall into the habit of snacking throughout the day - they get so caught up in their children’s needs that they forget to feed themselves. Having regular mealtimes can cut down on irresponsible snacking, and it allows you to sit down and enjoy your meal mindfully. 

It’s also important to lose the guilt you may have about prioritizing yourself and your health. By putting these things higher on your list, you’re setting a good example for your children.

You should also take some time to plan out your meals for the week. Plan out your meals, shop for those meals, and this will help you stay focused on your weight loss goals. 

If losing weight is something that the whole family is interested in, have them contribute to the weekly meal plans so everyone has a hand in what is put on the dinner table each night. 

Resources

  1. "HOW TO START EATING CLEAN WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS." Momables, www.momables.com/how-to-start-eating-clean-when-you-have-kids/.
  2. Webster, Katie. "How to Meal-Prep a Week of Healthy Family Dinners on Sunday." EatingWell, www.eatingwell.com/article/290751/how-to-meal-prep-a-week-of-healthy-family-dinners-on-sunday/.
  3. Hodges, Carolyn. "A Cheap, Healthy Meal Plan to Feed My Family for $100 for the Week." EatingWell, 24 Mar. 2021, www.eatingwell.com/article/291626/a-cheap-healthy-meal-plan-to-feed-my-family-for-100-for-the-week/.
  4. Sleymann, Ayat. "Weight-Loss Meal Plan for Busy Parents." EatingWell, 1 Jan. 2021, www.eatingwell.com/article/7883305/weight-loss-meal-plan-for-busy-parents/.

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