You’ve been there before, right?! Your kiddos woke up 2 hours earlier than normal due to their sheer excitement over the events to come that day, guests will be arriving any moment, and you’re so far behind schedule in preparing the holiday meal that you’ll end up missing out on visiting and relaxing with your family on a special holiday… again. It happens every time you host these gatherings, to the point that you’re nearly ready to give up and request some sort of rotation plan with your extended family!
I promise you, it’s happened to me too many times to count. But it’s one of the reasons I decided to learn to get really good at planning and prepping ahead – so that I could create the healthy meals that are important to me and still have time to relax and enjoy the day. Here are my top tips for doing just that.
1. Plan your menu. A few days beforehand, decide exactly what you’ll serve and make your shopping list. Your recipes do not need to be lavish or complicated!
My go-to brunch menu includes a variety of fresh fruit; an easy ham-egg-veggie baked casserole; and honey-sweetened, whole-grain fruity muffins and breads. (Here are some of my favorite recipes for you to try: Tropical Mango-Pineapple-Coconut Muffins, Golden Sunrise Apricot Muffins, Mango Raspberry Muffins or get more recipes, like my Cranberry Orange Sweet Potato Bread, Apple-Carrot-Zucchini Muffins, Peanut Butter Banana Flax Bread, or Blueberry Oat Muffins in my cookbook here or grab the e-book version immediately here!)
2. Go shopping. Two-to-three days before the event, run out and grab all the items you’ll need for your special meal. This will give you time for the next step and help avoid a more time-consuming trip bogged down by last-minute-shoppers.
3. Make ahead. The day before Easter, I make my muffins, wash and prep fruit (cut melon, oranges, etc. and wash grapes and berries), and get my egg casserole ready to pop into the oven on Sunday morning.
If you prefer muffins to be served hot out of the oven, you can combine all wet ingredients (egg, applesauce, honey, etc.) in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, give it a quick stir, add in the Whole Grain Baking Mix, stir again to combine all ingredients, pour into muffin pans, and bake while you finish your last-minute preparations like setting out plates & silverware (we always do our holiday meals buffet-style – it’s just easier and more laid-back that way), or getting yourself and the kiddos ready.
That’s it! Three simple steps to make your holiday meal healthy AND memorable! I’m going to say this again because I believe it’s worth repeating – special holiday meals can be healthy without being boring, and they do not need to be overly complicated! It’s such a rewarding feeling when you can create a delicious meal for your family to come together and enjoy, and actually have the time and energy left after making it to really savor the food, and the company! Happy Easter!