With work and all the other obligations that arise during the week, it can be difficult to find time to plan healthy, balanced meals for your family. Sometimes when we get too busy, quick meals with little nutritional value take precedence over health.
But active meal planning can help get you back on track and eliminate the stress of coming up with something healthy at the last minute. Various books have been written on this topic, and there are many websites that can help. Some literally plan every meal for you, while others offer suggestions or help you organize.
MealEasy—$19.95/month. MealEasy.com offers quick and healthy customized meals, with over 14,000 different meal choices, all created and tested by chefs and reviewed by nutritionists, dietitians and naturopathic doctors. The site offers point-and-click meal planning, organized grocery lists, and special attention to those who are diabetic or have heart conditions or food allergies.
The Six O’Clock Scramble—$54.50/year, $29.50/6 months, $19/50/3 months. TheScramble.com was dubbed “Fastest and Freshest” by Real Simple magazine and has received great reviews in Oprah’s magazine, O, and in Working Mother and The Washington Post. Meals include nutritional facts and take 30 minutes or less to make, and the weekly meal plan can be customized. The site offers a newsletter and organized grocery list, and encourages healthy eating by avoiding processed ingredients.
RealSimple.com—Free. RealSimple.com emphasizes healthy, everyday meal-planning tips that are simple and easy. Check out “10 Ingredients, 30 Meals,” and “15-Minute Meals.”
Meals Matter—Free. MealsMatter.org offers various healthy-meal planning resources. The site offers nutritional articles, recipes, personalized cookbooks and shopping lists, as well as a meal planner.
Shop’NCook—Free 45-day trial, $34.95 to purchase. ShopNCook.com offers software that combines a recipe organizer and grocery list manager to help with shopping and cooking.
MealBaby—Free. MealBaby.com is a meal registry geared toward those who planning meals for friends or family members who have recently given birth, had surgery or would just like a home-cooked meal. Users can create a meal calendar with favorite foods, gift card options, contact information, and maps and directions.
About.com—Free. The article found at lds.about.com/od/visualmusicalaids/a/meal_planning.htm offers a printable organizational chart to help you plan your own meals, and includes meal suggestions. iBi