Stage 1

Time Savers for Healthy Meals

Family Enjoying Meal At Home

How do you easily prepare daily healthy meals within minutes of walking through the door?

1. Automate meal preparation where possible:

  • Work out a repeating menu (Repeating fornightly or monthly)

  • Link your shopping list to the menu

  • Work out the amounts required to make meals from your menu

2. Display the menu so whoever gets home first can commence meal preparation

Making Family Life Easy 1

Follow the blue text for tips

In addition to the health benefits of creating a 'healthy' repeating menu, the changes had significant unexpected roll on effects for our finances.

One wet day when soccer plans were cancelled I did some serious planning and turned things around for us. That day I created a fortnightly repeating menu, (which I later expanded to cover a month because it worked so well.)

Boy Holding Racket

Out of everything I did towards organizing the running of our household, changing how I organized meal preparation, achieved the biggest difference. I achieved astounding results over years. And I've been asked to share these ideas again and again.

Do you ever come home late and feel like you're already tired? But you've got to start all over again, in your most important job... as a parent.

Over time, I found with organization in place, providing healthy meals, on a daily basis, was not only easy but it became easier than takeaway... Seriously.


If  you're creating a menu of healthy meals, to begin with, think about your working week.


You may have some working days that are longer, children may have sport after school on specific days, you may have appointments after work or you may have to do the grocery shopping.

On the days when I knew I'd walk in the door late, I planned for my quickest and easiest meals.


Or I used a curry or spaghetti bolognese that I'd made previously, stored  in the freezer, and put into the fridge in the morning before I left for work.

​I went through my newly created menu and worked out the quantities of food that I needed for each person.


And while this may seem an arduous task, you're already doing it, on at least some scale (if you're preparing healthy meals.) All I did differently was, I did it properly once, instead of over and over again... over years.

Then I extended what I did, so I wasted even less time planning. Then I got to spend more time on what I wanted to do.


You know your routine better than anyone else and which days meals need to be quick and easy.


When I planned my menu I put the most challenging days in first. If I knew I got home earlier on a particular day of the week that would be the day that I would put on say a baked dinner, or a stew that I knew would take longer to cook; although needed little attention once it was on.


Alternatively I could also have put it in a slow cooker so it was ready to eat as soon as the accompanying pasta, rice or fresh steamed vegies was cooked.



To follow what I did, you'll first need to work out what you want to eat; and how much you need of each item for each meal.

Rustic Meal

These are the amounts I allowed, based on a family of 4 healthy eaters, two of whom were teenage boys who liked to eat meat at meal times. If you want to use this as is you will need to adjust to what is more appropriate to you.

Carbohydrate serves: Per person I generally allow: one potato, one eighth of a butternut pumpkin, one quarter of a sweet potato, one quarter of a bag of pasta or ½ cup of uncooked rice person as a serve of carbohydrates. You can determine how many serves of each you will need.

Meat serves: For a serve of meat I allowed: 500 grams of minced beef (or a pound)  for four people, 2-3 thin sausages per person, 2 small BBQ chops per adult person, (1 BBQ chop per child or some women who eat less,) one and a half forequarter chops per person (for stews and the like,) 1 small leg of lamb for 4 people (I usually buy a large one unless slow cooking it and use it for leftovers), one half of a piece of chuck steak per person, 1-2 lamb shanks per person, etc.]

Chicken serves:  For a serve of chicken I allowed 1-2 chicken thigh fillets per person, 4 chicken wings per person, 2-3 drumsticks per person, 2 kebabs per person, etc...

Family Shopping

I highlighted the items that were non-perishable so I knew which non-perishable items I also had to purchase for the fortnight.


I took both children with me and sometimes used two trolleys (as the children got older and ate more food,) especially when I did my big monthly shop for non-perishables.

And as they got older I trained them to be more involved in locating items from shelves, or reading from the shopping list. Even as young teenagers it worked really well because, they loved to eat.

And as a testimonial, when both of our adult sons moved out, they used the same system I created .

Providing regular healthy meals can be really easy if you plan ahead.

Colorful Pasta

Vegetable serves: For a family of 4 serve of vegetables I allow: 1-2 carrots, 2 ears of corn, one fifth of a large bag of beans, 1-2 zucchini, one half to one floret of broccoli, one fifth to one quarter of a cauliflower, one fifth to a sixth of a bag of snow peas. (The bags I am describing are the plastic bags provided by the supermarkets to put your vegetables in, not carry bags.)

Salad serves: For a serve of salad I allow one pre-packaged bag of salad for a meal for four people. If it is for my salad for lunch I allow one bag for three days to provide a healthy light meal for lunch.


To see the easiest way to link your menu to your shopping list go to the following link:


Click on the following links to learn more:

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This website provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. Best Parenting does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or with every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this website to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Similarly users of this website are advised to follow any recommendations for seeking professional advice as all information on this site is generic. Best Parenting is an independent website and is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems.


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