By: Ashley M., MetPro Client
I’m pretty sure we are the worst family to invite over for dinner. Between the 4 of us, we each have different dietary needs and preferences and while ours might be considered “extreme”, I am sure we are not alone.
It goes something like this:
Me: Pescatarian, following a strict MetPro meal plan
Husband: Will eat anything I cook as long as it doesn’t have cheese
Daughter: Typical child who prefers anything that includes bread and cheese
Son: Gluten, dairy, corn & soy-free
I feel very strongly about making sure my kids learn how to eat healthily and know the foods they put into their bodies have the ability to make them feel good or bad. Overall, we try to stay away from processed foods and stick to a whole foods diet, which is why MetPro is the perfect balance for our family.
Over the years I have come up with a few different ways to meal plan and make my life easier:
1. Don’t Make Meals, Piece Together Side Dishes
You will be cooking a bunch of different types of “meals”, but you will be able to mix and match depending on everyone's food preference. This is great for MetPro because you can assemble your meals when you are ready to eat and make sure that your macros match your current phase.
Here are some tricks I implement:
- Make a big batch of meat (and/or lentils, and beans) for a few nights worth of protein
- Make smaller batches of meal carbs such as rice, noodles, sweet potatoes. Cook pre-prepped fresh veggies every night (having chopped or sliced veggies on hand already for meals is a great meal-prep hack!)
- Add fruit for the kiddos
2. Always Do Taco Tuesday
Did you know Taco Night is MetPro-Approved? As long as you have the staple ingredients for tacos, you can make them differently depending on everyone's needs. You are able to switch things up and make street tacos, taco salad, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and stuffed bell peppers.
I guess this is more of a “Mexican Food Tuesday” plan now, but most of the time you can interchange the ingredients accordingly, without much effort which is a big win!
3. Breakfast For Dinner
When I’m having a hard time coming up with something to eat for everyone in my family, breakfast for dinner is always the easiest thing. I typically have all of the items I need on hand and I can bust out dinner quickly. Usually, breakfast for dinner is a huge hit for the kiddos!
- I’ll make french toast, pancakes or waffles for the kids
- Sausage or bacon for the meat-eaters
- Egg scrambles or omelets for those on MetPro. These are easily customizable by adding in veggies, protein and fats as it relates to your meal phase. The kids might eat scrambled eggs but typically with nothing in them.
4. Don’t Complicate It
Try to find something that works for you and your family. I know it can be especially difficult to have a consistent routine while being on MetPro because your meal plan is constantly changing, so it’s hard to plan WAY ahead of time. What I found that works for me, is sticking to themes on specific days of the week so I always know what’s for dinner:
- Monday: Meatless Monday
- Tuesday: Tacos / Mexican Food
- Wednesday: Meat, Carb, Veggies
- Thursday: Breakfast
- Friday: Meat, Carb, Veggies
- Saturday: Leftovers
- Sunday: Meat, Carb, Veggies
5. Make Extras So You Have Leftovers
We all know that staying on your plan is super important. I don’t know about you but I always feel like I can stay consistent with my MetPro breakfast and snacks but lunch and dinner are harder for me. When making dinner opt to make extra!
If your dinner recipe calls for chicken, throw in a couple of extra chicken breasts and incorporate them into your meal prep for the week. If you are making a recipe for two, double the recipe and there's lunch for the next 2 days. Cooking meals or sides in bulk and having a variety of different foods to choose from in your fridge or pantry should help you whip up a MetPro-Approved meal for your current phase in no time.
Other tricks that have helped me:
- Always have canned beans and canned or frozen vegetables on hand just for those moments when you need to add macros.
- Prepare items by macro or bulk cook your favorite protein and meal carb, split the appropriate amounts into different meals, and then add your veggies and fats as you go.
From one MetPro Mom to another, I hope these tips and tricks help you feel more confident planning and creating meals for you and your family!