Meal Prep For The Entire Family
Maintaining a healthy balanced diet for the average person is difficult, but even more-so for those that are health conscious. For those that have families, however, this task can be extra daunting. Often times preparing healthy lunches and snacks for the entire family while ensuring that your own meal plan is nutrition-packed means that someone in the family is not going to have the healthiest meals. Usually, this person is you! If this sounds like your situation, then we have some suggestions for you that will ensure that everyone in the family is taken care of, and that your nutrition is not left to the wayside. Read on for our tips on meal prep for the entire family.
Family nutritionists have come to a consensus that it is much easier to plan and pack meals for the entire family if everyone eats pretty well the same meals and snacks (aside from portion sizes being varied between adults and children in the household). In addition, breaking down options in a simple way makes it much more manageable when it comes to setting up meals for the day.
Anecdotal studies show that meals are best prepared in the order of the day with breakfast being prepared fresh in the early morning hours.
- Breakfast: Is typically eaten at home so this meal is normally not much of a problem as it is prepared fresh in the early morning hours. This meal is typically the one that can contain variation between family members. For example, you (as the parent) may choose to eat a protein pancake, but may prepare something different for the kids. This makes breakfast a meal to really look forward to because it is made fresh first thing, and kids in the household look forward to something different from what the parents are eating (but not always, that will be up to you).
Meals/Snacks Packed The Day Before:
- Snack 1: This is packed the day before and portioned for each family member. Typically this will consist of some healthy fats (almonds, peanuts, cashews) and then either a protein drink, phytonutrient drink, water, or 250ml of juice. The goal here would be to prioritize a protein drink or phytonutrient drink to keep this snack nutrient dense. Adding raisins are a nice way to add some sweetness to the healthy fats.
- Lunch: This is also packed the day before and portioned for each family member. The key in this meal will be to keep it nutrient dense by focusing on whole grains, protein, vegetables, and fruits. As long as all or 3 of these 4 are included, this meal will go a long way in providing fuel for the entire family. Alternatively, this meal can also be a portion of the leftover dinner from the previous evening.
- Snack 2: This meal typically includes a whole foods grain bar, oats, fruits, and/or vegetables. A protein drink, phytonutrient drink, water, or 250ml of juice are the best choices for drinks.
Meals/Snacks Once Prepared Fresh:
- Dinner: By dinner most of the family is now at home and dinner is made fresh once again. If you have children that are engaged in extracurricular activities then following the guidelines for Lunch would apply to dinner as well.
NOTE: Depending on the timing of dinner, some families may choose to add an evening snack before bedtime. It is suggested that the evening snack consists of lower carbohydrate count and those that are lower in the glycemic index mainly because it will make winding down in preparation for bedtime much easier.
Although the general guidelines mentioned in this blog are very useful, supplements really help to ensure that all of the nutrient requirements are met and all meals are the absolute most nutrient-dense. Some of these are highlighted below:
- Multi-Vitamin – Consuming a daily multi-vitamin goes a long way in ensuring that the body gets all of the micronutrients that it may not get from just food consumption alone. The body is a complex system and supporting all of its functions by taking a daily multi-vitamin plays an important role in keeping it functioning at peak levels.
- Greens and Reds Drink – Consuming a vegetable greens and/or antioxidant rich berry supplement on a daily basis will go a long way in supporting overall health and wellness. These supplements pack antioxidant capabilities that allow them to fight off free radicals and keep the body functioning smoothly. By ridding the body of toxins, the body is able to run efficiently and stay as healthy as possible.
- Protein Powder / Protein Bars – Protein is made up of amino acids and many of them play important roles in muscle, joint, ligament, and skin health. Protein is especially important for those that exercise and need a quick on-the-go solution to support their recovery.
- Meal Replacements – These often come in the form of a powder for mixing as a shake, or as a meal bar. They typically consist of protein, complex carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and a variety of micronutrients as well. Essentially, these mimic the nutrients that would be consumed in a healthy balanced meal. Meal replacements are great if you know that you won’t have time to prepare and/or eat one of your meals. They are quick, easy, and ensure that your diet stays on track.
- Fish Oil – Fish oil is essential in keeping the brain healthy and supporting optimum focus and mood.
- Probiotic – These are a powerhouse when it comes to gut flora and immunity. Essentially, probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that populate the digestive tract and keep the body healthy. Western diets do not contain enough of these naturally, so supplementing with them is highly recommended.
Preparing and planning are the keys to a healthy diet that is maintainable on a daily basis. In addition, knowing which supplements are needed to add into the diet is essential in ensuring optimal health for the entire family.
To find the supplements that work best for you, or for more training ideas, visit us in store and have a chat with one of our experts. We can also be reached on Facebook and Instagram. If you make any of the tips mentioned above, be sure to tag us! We are #ReflexNation.