Meal planning is important for your child’s overall well-being. Apart from the fact that it ensures everyone around the home gets the nutritional benefits that come with planning every meal, meal planning helps with brain development in your kids and protects them from chronic illnesses.
Planning your every meal may seem to overtax especially with your busy schedule, nonetheless, it should top your list of priorities. This is because it promotes health, ensures you choose healthy foods, encourages you to practice healthy eating habits, and saves you time as well as money.
Most parents don’t realize the importance of meal planning when raising their kids and allow them to eat whatever they get their hands on or whatever they feel like eating. If you are one of those parents who think meal planning isn’t much of a priority where your child’s overall welfare is concerned, think again. This is because the best way of raising your kids and ensuring they remain healthy, happy, and energetic throughout their childhood lives is by keeping a watchful eye on what they eat as well as planning their meals daily.
A lot of parents feel they are “too busy” to make conscious food choices for their kids and always end up taking the easy way out. You may fail to make breakfast and “grab something on the way” while taking your kids to school. If you are not careful, you will unconsciously serve unwholesome foods to your kids daily and disturb their health. Therefore, avoid making the mistake of giving junk food to your child just because you are too busy to prepare wholesome meals or to get rid of the crying and screaming.
If your child is upset about something, figure out the best way of handling it without giving him something that will disturb his development or health down the line.
Meal planning trains your child in the right direction and empowers him to make healthier food choices on his own. When your child is used to eating healthy food and understands the benefits of making healthy food choices, he will not always prefer processed or fast foods. If you teach your child about the benefits of wholesome foods and tell him that he can only have the chocolate bar after finishing his vegetables, slowly but surely, he will choose fruits and vegetables over candy on his own.
Including your children when planning meals and ensuring you plan every meal is the key to raising happy, healthy, smart, and energetic kids. It is also a smart way of ensuring your child gets all the nutrients that are important for his development.
Key points to remember as a parent when meal planning.
- Add variety to your meals.
The most effective way of ensuring your kids enjoy healthy food is by adding variety to your meals. Avoid serving the same dish the same way over and over. Diversify your meals and present the same dish in different ways, if you are to serve one dish twice a week. Add color to your meals to grow your child’s appetite and keep him excited about the next meal.
- Work with what you have first.
One of the advantages of meal planning is that you get to save and avoid wasting food. So, when planning your meals, work with what you have first, and go grocery shopping at least once a month. Figure out what’s in your pantry and work with it.
- Prepare wholesome meals.
Your child’s development depends on the type of food he eats. Therefore, make meal planning a priority and be extra careful of the ingredients you choose. Stick to wholesome meals and only give them candy once in two days or avoid giving it to them altogether.Some of the foods to include in your meal plan include; whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Know the type of foods to avoid.
Knowing the types of foods to avoid is important when planning your meals. A few questions you need to ask yourself are; “How will this impact my child’s health?” “What benefits does this have on my child’s development?” and “What is the best way of serving this?”
Some of the foods to avoid when meal planning for your kids include; high-fat meats, drinks with added sugar, fast food, and too much candy.
Meal planning ensures your child receives all the nutrients required for his growth and well-being. It ensures he or she remains healthy and energetic all the time. So, make sure you plan every meal and make conscious decisions about what your child eats.
The way you plan your meals depends entirely on what you want as well as how you want to do it. You could plan your meals daily or once a week for the entire week. You could even plan your meals twice each week. It is all up to you. The most important thing is to make meal planning a top priority when raising kids.