It’s never easy juggling a family and job.  It always seems like, in order to do your best, you have to sacrifice one for the other.  Without a doubt, one of the hardest parts of balancing both of these areas of your life is preparing meals.  Let’s face it, more often than not, the last thing that you feel like doing at the end of a long workday is getting home and cooking a meal.  

The great news is that you can still manage to cook home-cooked meals without having to exhaust yourself after a long day. The secret is planning ahead and/or packaging meals in advance.  Here are some of the best tips for planning your meals. 

Gather Recipes

The first step is taking some time to find things that inspire you.  The next time you’re waiting in the doctor’s office or have some time before falling asleep, take the time to browse your phone for different ideas.  

There are plenty of websites out there that can provide lots of inspiration.  Don’t forget about apps and cookbooks too.  

Keep It As Simple As Possible 

It’s easy to start getting ahead of yourself after a few minutes on a food blog.  After a few moments of inspiration, you might even start to think you’re some kind of Martha Stewart.  THe problem is, putting too much pressure on yourself will take away from the idea point of planning ahead, which is to make things easier!

Don’t get caught up in a commitment that will overwhelm you.  Find practical and delicious meals that are realistic to make in large batches if you decide to package your meals in advance. 

Get Your Family Involved 

All the family cooking is a lot to take on by yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask your family to get involved in the planning process. Maybe you can take turns choosing meals.  When you get everyone excited about mealtime, it’s much more fun.

When everyone is inspired, then meals become less of a task and more of a family activity. 

Consider Theme Nights

Some people find that it’s helpful to have theme nights. Not only is it fun, but it also makes planning easier.  If you know what kind of genre of food you’re expected to prepare on a certain night, then your choices become narrowed.

For example, you can make a decision that Sundays are pasta night. That way, when you’re doing your shopping, you know that you’ll definitely need pasta regardless of the week.

Schedule It

It helps to schedule an entire day of your week for cooking and prepping.  Even though it will require some time all in one go, it will save you plenty of time later in the week.  It’s worth putting in one full day of work so that you have your evenings free after a long day at work!