During Covid-19 we all went back to our kitchens to create! Baking became a “thing” again. Whoo! We survived into the summer and finally got released to be outside!

We all need a little help now and then. Especially, when it comes to putting meals together, a task that’s no easy feat.  That’s why you need meal planning in your life.

Here are 5 simple meal planning tips for busy summer days outside. These ideas will help you plan healthy meals for your family, all without breaking a sweat. Well, maybe just a few drops. 😊

Let’s get started!

1. Be on the lookout for new recipes

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, making the same meals repeatedly. One of the best ways to make meal planning more fun is to explore other healthy meal recipes.

With nearly everything on the internet these days, you don’t even need to purchase a cookbook. You can explore healthy meal plans on different food sites like some Life Essentials Day Spa favorites in these links.

Food Network- Master the Grill this Summer Series

Taste of Home’s Refreshing Gluten-Free Summer Desserts

You can make this quick-to-make chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries! (Hint: For dairy-free use coconut cream!)

glass of chocolate mouse with reaberries

But don’t wait until it’s time to cook to start looking. And don’t do the grocery shopping before you start thinking of meal ideas. Planning helps you to have a handle on everything so that you don’t have to make rushed decisions when meal prep time comes.

So, go ahead and spend 20 minutes surfing your favorite food site or the spa recipes and pick one or two new recipes to try.

2. Make a grocery shopping list with an app!

This might seem like basic advice, but it’s probably the most important tip on this list. Once you have decided on which recipes you want to try, make a list of the ingredients that you will need. Making the list on the phone means you will always have it with you.  Our favorite app is outofmilk.com.

Making a list will ensure that you don’t leave anything out and that you have everything you need when it’s time to make a meal.

3. Keep it simple but flexible

It’s understandable how suddenly having all these options might be so exciting that you want to go overboard. But don’t do it!

You already have limited time, and the entire purpose of meal planning is to keep it efficient. However, you can switch things up at dinnertime while still keeping it simple.

If trying entire new recipes is too much, get creative with different parts of your usual meals. You can easily swap veggies, proteins, and sides. Alternatively, you can change the spices and sauces you typically cook with the dish.

Make sure you’re not overexerting yourself; but also remember, it’s okay to try new things.

4. Use meat and fresh produce early in the week

When it comes to protein and vegetables, the fresher, the better.  You don’t want to serve your family wilted spinach or soggy green beans. If you end up with a serving of stale vegetables, you may never be able to get them to eat their veggies again.

Use the more perishable foods earlier in the week so that you can provide your family with fresh food all week long.

5. Ask for help

 To help with the decision-making process, ask your family what they want to eat. For grocery shopping, send your partner and/or kids to the store with your shopping list while you attend to other things.  Share the outofmilk.com app or make two lists.  With older kids, you can make it a timed race.  Whoever gets their section of the list done  completely first, gets to pick a dessert that day!

And for cooking, involve your family. Your spouse and the kids (if they’re old enough), can also help with the cooking.

The Bottom Line

Summertime is 10-12 weeks of shifting schedules and changing demands.  Make food simple and fresh as much as you can! Ask for help and experiment with new things. Give them a try and see which ones make sense for you and your family. Then make sure to come back and let us know about your favorites!

Do you plan your meals?

If not, what’s holding you back?

 Preplanning means more me-time.  Check out ways to find that time-a little extra time for you here!

Covid-19 slowed us all down in a good way.  Now as we are ramping back up check out what you can do for you this summer.


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