This time of year is always hectic with holidays, shopping to do, presents to wrap, and tons of activities for the kids. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I try to keep meal planning simple, good advice year-round but even more so when you are facing a mile long to do list.
Five Tips for Simple Meal Planning
- Stick with favorites: Now is not the time to get creative or try something complex and new. Stick with old standbys but if they get boring add a little flare. A splash of vinegar to your chicken, a bit of fresh herbs, or just more butter. (butter always makes things better right?)
- Take a night off. Even if your budget is tight (and whose isn’t these days) take a night off from cooking. If you can’t afford to eat out, call it clean out the fridge night or hors d’oeuvres on your best china even if it’s only fancy cut PB&Js.
- Try new recipes over time: If you are planning a holiday celebration (or a special meal) at home consider trying out new recipes one at a time over the next few weeks to make sure you get them right. I incorporate one new dish in a meal to test it. Besides I’m sure the kids won’t mind trying your cookie fails. 😉
- Pick one healthy food to feature: Make sure you put out one thing everyone will eat that’s healthy. I always put salad on the table since the kids will always eat it (with copious amounts of ketchup). I usually put out a second veggie out that not everyone will like (or prepare it in a new way).
- Plan Ahead: Making a meal plan and shopping list will help you plan your week, and avoid the 5 o’clock panic.