What are the benefits to meal planning?
Meal planning is a great way to help you save time and money!
* Be less stressed about what to make
* Use ingredients you have on hand and buy only what you need
* Make it easier to eat healthy and avoid boredom with your food
* Ensure you never go longer than 4-5 hours without a snack on hand
Where to start?
Some things you want to consider when you begin meal planning:
* Do you have a nutrition/health goal in mind?
* Do you or someone in your family have special dietary needs?
* How much time do you have to prepare meals?
* Is there a day when you can prepare meals in advance?
* Are there days when you don’t have time or energy to cook?
* What kinds of foods do you and your family like to eat?
Write down in a list, chart or even a fancy fridge magnet your plans for the week
* Start with supper for every day of the week
* Plan for leftovers (for lunch or supper the next day)
* Plan for balanced meals
o 3 of the 4 food groups
* Make your grocery list
* As soon as you arrive home from the grocery store:
o Delegate tasks
o Chop up all the vegetables for lunches and suppers throughout the week
o Portion out the hummus, dips, peanut butters, etc for lunches
o Boil 6-12 eggs for breakfast and lunch in as rush
o Portion out trail mix or nuts as grab and go snacks
* Double duty- plan meals where you can have them act as lunch for the next day or double up for another supper.
o Example: cook double the chicken so you have chicken for wraps, pitas, salads.
o Example: double up the pulled pork recipe to make a pulled pork pizza for another night.
* Make a salad at the beginning of the week that can be used in lunches for the rest of the week.
o Examples: chickpea salad, quinoa salad, marinated vegetable salad, barley salad
Start slow! Meal planning is not easy and it will take time to make it a routine. Start with planning out suppers and once you get the hang of that, plan out parts of lunch, and so on. You do not need to be a super hero! There are going to be days where the plan simply does not work and that is okay, be human and do not fault yourself for that.