Do you find yourself struggling to find a recipe at the last minute? Never seem to have what you need from the grocery store? Have no fear! Creating a weekly meal plan can make after-school evenings run much more smoothly!
Choose the Meals Your Family Loves
Start by making a list of all the meals and snacks your family likes to eat on a regular basis. Pro-tip: get some sticky tabs or magnets and write the name of each meal on a tab. Place them all in a notebook or on your refrigerator, spread out so that they’re easily accounted for. These meals will be the building blocks of a weekly meal plan for your family.
Chart It Up
If you went with sticky tabs, create a chart with a column for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Add rows for each day of the week. This layout allows you to easily account for each meal and snack you’ll be responsible for throughout the week. Although there are often occasions where you’ll go out to eat, it’s always better to have a plan that you stray from than to have no plan at all.
Organize the Days
Now, decide which meals should fall into which slot. When this process is completed, you should have a planned dish for every meal and snack throughout the week. When you get home from work, it’ll be so easy to just check the meal chart and start cooking. You also won’t have to worry about changing the meal halfway through preparation, as your family can see the meal plan. You can even collaborate on the plan before the week begins to avoid any arguments. As a bonus, this is an excellent way to teach the kids about balance and nutrition!
Check the Diet
Ever wondered if you’ve been giving your kids enough nutrients? This meal planning system makes it easy to keep your family’s diet (or, more often, diets) in check. You can easily outline and implement your family’s dietary needs with a structured meal plan. Also, seeing the meal plan spread out before you will make it easy to find places where leafy greens can be best disguised.
Shop and Prep
No more opening the fridge on a Wednesday night to find an empty milk carton! When you know what dishes you’ll be preparing a week ahead, you can easily buy everything you need from the grocery store in one go. Go through your meal chart and make a grocery list of all the items you’ll need for the week. After purchasing them, you can even prep for the meals ahead of time. Maybe a lot of your meals require chopped veggies or peeled fruit. Maybe you have to soak some lentils for another dish. Finishing the prep work for multiple meals once or twice a week is a huge time saver.
Of course, not everyone has time to meal prep or plan. That’s where Market Table comes in! Our freezer meals and prepared dishes offer options for the whole family — just pop them in the oven and have a healthy, delicious meal in no time. Stumped when it comes to lunch? We’ve got you covered there, too: you can pre-order and pick up our Light Lunchboxes, saving you time and sanity.
The days of packing peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and Capri Suns are over. Nowadays, it feels like every member of the fam wants something new and different from those old average lunches. Being creative can be easy — even when you’re packing lunches for the entire family. Here are five fabulous ideas for lunch-spiration.
Salads are a great option for take-away lunches. They aren’t prone to spoil, they don’t have to be microwaved, and they’re healthy more often than they aren’t. Even if your family is suspicious of salads, they’ll love this Edamame Power Salad. This recipe’s packed with super-healthy edamame and chickpeas — and it’s both gluten-free and vegan. The avocado lime dressing gives it a tangy twist. It’s so good the kids won’t even realize they’re eating a salad!
Pasta’s another dish that doesn’t necessarily have to be microwaved. Kids love pasta, so it’s an avenue to ease them into trying new ingredients. For example, this Sesame Ginger Soba Noodle Salad is packed with roasted veggies like bell peppers and asparagus. The zesty dressing pairs great with most vegetables, making this a catch-all option for what’s leftover in your fridge at the end of the week.
Of course, sandwiches are a classic lunch box option. They don’t have to be boring, however. If your family’s tired of peanut butter and jelly, try this Chicken, Sprouts, and Provolone Sandwich. It’s served on a sesame bagel that gets toasted in the oven. The crunch of the bean sprouts and the bagel pairs perfectly with soft chicken and melted provolone cheese. If your kids aren’t quite adventurous eaters yet, remember that cookie cutters can make any sandwich exciting! Our kiddos love these Hungry Hippos.
Sick of sandwiches? Try a wrap! With the right preparations, wraps are quick and easy. We love a Beef Shawarma Wrap. This wrap uses pita bread or flatbread and contains ingredients like beef, tahini, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and other sauces and spices. It’s the burrito’s delicious middle-eastern cousin. Plus, it’s a great source of protein and fiber.
If you’re feeling especially dedicated, try making bowls. Bowls offer endless combinations, which means endless possibilities for delicious lunches. Watching your weight? Try these clean eating bowls. Looking for something delicious, family-friendly, and moderately healthy? Try this Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl (pro-tip: use brown rice for added fiber). Packed with protein, you can add a variety of vegetables depending on your preference. The sweet teriyaki sauce is sure to make this bowl a hit for your whole family.
Of course, everyone runs out of ideas from time to time. Or, you just might not have time to make lunchboxes every day. Why not try our Light Lunchboxes and let us do the work for you? You can pre-order lunches by Wednesday and pick them up on Sunday, or just come by and see what’s in the case! Follow us on Facebook to see what meals we’re packing for lunch each week.
Text by Martha Kendall Custard
Fourth of July cookouts are one of the best ways to make fun out of the summer heat. There’s no better way to bring people together than with food. Whether you’re at the beach, the pool, or in your own backyard, consider incorporating these elements into your 4th of July cookout party.
Cook on the Grill
There’s a certain smoky aroma associated with the 4th of July, and it isn’t the smell of your uncle burning his eyebrows with cheap fireworks. Nothing beats being outside while the air is filled with the fragrence of food grilling over a fire. Cooking on the grill is key to throwing the best 4th of July party. The menu wouldn’t be the same without authentically grilled hot dogs and burgers.
If you are throwing a party with both kids and adults, you might want to try splitting up the menu accordingly. Kids love burgers and hot dogs, but the adults might prefer something a bit more special. One great idea is to light a fire pit for the kids. Give them skewers so that they can grill their own hot dogs. While this does require supervision, your kids will have a blast — and learn a little about cooking, too.
Branch Out with Your Menu
For the adults, you might want to try one of our premium cuts of steak. We also offer a variety of prepared sides, including summer BBQ classics like potato salad and pasta salad. Best of all, our pre-prepared meals give you more time to spend with your family. You could also consider adding in a shrimp boil. These are fun, tasty and they look amazing spread out on tables! Add a personal flare to your menu with different 4th of July recipe ideas.
Don’t Forget the Sweets
The most important sweet treat of this holiday isn’t a dessert at all—it’s watermelon! Watermelon is the best summer fruit. Its slight sweetness is not too overpowering for the summer heat, making it perfect for your cookout. Another key sweet treat you must include in your cookout is banana pudding. This classic dish is served cold, which makes it apt for the hot summer months. It’s also a fan favorite amongst the kids.
Make Your Own Ice Cream
As if banana pudding and watermelon aren’t enough, we have one more dessert option for you. There’s something special about the taste of homemade vanilla ice cream. Buying an affordable ice cream machine and putting your kids to work is a great way to enjoy this great taste while keeping your kids occupied and having a blast. To top it off, set up a topping bar so that guests can customize their homemade ice cream bowls.
Text by Martha Kendall Custard