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How to Meal Plan Mindfully For Your Family / Cómo planear de forma consciente tu menú familiar

As parents we have the duty to feed our kids in a balanced way. This seems never ending and can be very frustrating when our kids don't eat what we cook.

Meal planning mindfully is key to be successful at feeding your family.

Here are the things I take into consideration when on the weekends I plan for my weekly menu:

What are some of my kid’s favorite items to incorporate to my menu?

  • Having a favorite or “safe food” for your child is important and helps reduce stress of your little one at the table, making them more likely to eat.

  • Adding a safe or favorite foods is not cooking for them separately, it is just adding a side, fruit or veggie they like.

  • What foods should I work on myself and kids to eat them more as a family?

  • Being mindful of what you need to work on , as a parent, so you can be a role model is very important. If you ever wonder if your kid does not eat veggies or salmon, be sure to look at the mirror first. Challenge yourself and make sure to add what you need on your list.

  • What new foods or textures should I introduce to my kids and how to do it mindfully?

  • New or not favorite items need to be added mindfully to your menu. This can be done by including a favorite item, cooking them similarly to another favorite food and in small quantities.

  • How can I add more variety to my menu?

  • Rotating your menu, including what fruits are offered and even how food is served or presented is key to prevent pickiness. Make sure to rotate the foods your kid already likes and combine them with other new ones so you can expand the palate not only of your kids but of your whole family.

  • How can I make some quick adaptations to my menu so I can serve the same thing to my family but taking everyone - even myself- into consideration?

  • Again, I don't advise cooking a different menu, but quick adaptations can be done such as quick sides such as zucchini noodles instead of pasta, or making the same food for the kids without the spices.

  • What foods should I add to make up for missed nutrients my kids are not eating?

  • Thinking what your child might not eat of your menu will help you think ahead on other ways he can eat those nutrients. For instance for missed veggies, you need to buy spinach to add to smoothies, or beans as an alternative protein source.

  • What sweets or “fun foods should I add to my menu this week”

  • I have explained before why offering sweets occasionally helps kids create a better relationship with them. Exerting too much control or restriction can backfire. Make sure not to condition them nor use them as a price. Healthy and homemade versions of course are better options but not the only ones. Check my blog post where I explain more about a healthy “sweet policy” here.

  • How busy is my week and should I change my expectations about my cooking this week?

  • Be mindful of your schedule as well, not all weeks will look the same. Sometimes you might have to rely on rotisserie chicken, quick meals or even take out and that is OK. Give yourself a break and don’t judge yourself, what matters the most is to feed your family the best you can.

As you can see there is more to meal planning than just food or ingredients to stock up your fridge or pantry. Being mindful will help us plan our meals and be successful at it in a mindful way. Let me know if I can help you meal plan more mindfully taking everyone at home into consideration.