With a new school year in full swing, the secret to staying on top of it all - dinner, laundry, yoga, soccer practice and the ever-elusive "me time" - is planning ahead. Here are some helpful tips that will make putting together meals easy and enjoyable this year.
The early bird gets the … groceries
Make your grocery list as you run out of things instead of right before you go to the store. This means you won't forget something when you're in a rush to get in and out.
Let the kids help
Compromise is key when it comes to making healthy meals that are appealing to even the pickiest eaters. Instead of leaving them out of the meal planning, get the kids involved by letting them pick recipes from a cookbook. Who knows? You might even get them to eat broccoli.
Name the nights
Brainstorm with your family to create a weekly menu that fits everyone's appetite. A menu plan will let you change things up while still creating a basic structure to follow. Try turkey Tuesdays, spaghetti Wednesdays or fresh fish Fridays.
Become a list master
Running to the store every night to pick up the stuff for dinner isn't practical in today's busy world. Make a list of meals for the upcoming week rather than trying to throw dinner ideas together while at the store.
Map your plan of attack
Learn the layout of your home grocery store - then you'll be able to breeze through shopping like you own the place. And if you get really good, you can even write your list with the store in mind, so it becomes a map you follow as you shop.
Plan meals around the products available seasonally in your area, and visit your local farmer's market to pick your fruits and veggies. You'll get fresh, flavorful combinations and the chance to support local agriculture at the same time.