When you’re shuttling kids to sports practice or games every evening, you may find yourself picking up fast food and takeout pizza or offering quick snacks in the car just to keep your kids fed! But if you’re feeding active and growing kids, it’s especially important to ensure that they’re eating healthy and getting the nutrients they need every day. Creating a meal plan can help do just that and in addition, can save you both time and money at the grocery store. And when you’ve taken the time to prepare healthy meals, you’ll also be more likely to sit down at the table together to enjoy those meals rather than always eating food on the go!

Here are some things to keep in mind when beginning to create a healthy meal plan for your family:

Involve your kids in the planning process. While you may not want to use all of their meal suggestions, fixing things that you know that they’ll enjoy will mean less fights at the dinner table. And even if they make some unhealthy suggestions, you can always research ways to make their favorite dishes healthier.

Oftentimes planning meals for dinner may seem like enough, but planning for breakfast and lunch is just as important, too. When looking at the recommended daily values for the various food groups, it can be overwhelming to think of fitting it all in for dinner. But planning and then providing nutritional options for breakfast and lunch will make this an easier goal to achieve.

– Speaking of recommended daily values, do you know what those are? Here’s a short list of what you and your kids should be eating every day:

– 3 ounces of whole grain (1 ounce = 1 slice bread, 1 cup cereal or ½ cup cooked rice, cereal or pasta)

– 2.5 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit per day

– 3 cups of milk products, including yogurt and cheese

– 5.5 ounces of proteins (beans, beef, chicken, eggs, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, salmon, shrimp or tuna)

Add healthy snacks to your meal plan as well. This will keep you and your kids from reaching for sweets and unhealthy salty snack foods when a mid-afternoon snack is needed.

Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged! Creating a healthy meal plan will take time to incorporate and figure out what works best for your family. Ask friends for help and look for easy meal-planning templates online to help you get started!

Do you have any great meal-planning tips you’d like to share with us? Any favorite healthy recipes you want to pass along? Share them here!

Happy Backyards™ sells and installs only the safest and highest quality residential playground equipment, basketball goals, and trampolines for your own home. We are a local company and have been doing it for 15 years with a focus on quality products, quality service, and competitive low pricing.