Meal planning 101

Do you dread the inevitable “what’s for dinner?” question that comes every day around 5 o’clock? I used to! That’s why I started meal planning. Now, when I’m asked, “What’s for dinner?” I have an answer, plus all the ingredients needed to make a healthy and delicious meal. Meal planning is beneficial for everyone, not just busy working moms and/or dads. It helps you get organized for the week and prepares you with meals.

Eat less processed and pre-packaged prepared foods.

If you are able to resist fast food take-out, you still might find yourself resorting to quick, processed, prepackaged foods in a pinch. By having the ingredients you need for a healthy meal on hand, it is much easier to resist these foods. Plus, when you meal plan, these foods aren’t included, so you won’t even be tempted by them!

Decrease stress.

Enough said. Anything that can make your life easier and less stressful is worth doing!

Fewer trips to the store.

Even if you love to grocery shop, if you aren’t prepared for your meals throughout the week, you might find yourself helplessly wandering the store aisles throughout the week. Planning allows you to go to the store only once per week!

Now that you know the benefits… here are some Eat Smart. Be Well. tips to get you started with your meal planning:

1. Take time to gather recipes:

Once a week, look through cookbooks, blogs and websites or break out old recipe favorites that you want to make for the week. It is best to plan for five days worth of meals. This allows for a little wiggle room if you decide to go out to eat or have leftovers.

2. Make a shopping list:

Make a list of all the ingredients you need from the store. Be sure to also add on any other essentials like breakfast, lunch or snack items you usually keep on hand.

3. Go shopping:

Easy enough, right? Your only task, besides getting what’s on the list, is avoiding the impulse buys! The one exception would be if there is a sale on items you regularly use such as meat, detergent, or any other food items you regularly keep in the house.

4. Keep meal plan visible:

Keep the meal plan in sight so you know what to plan for each day. The night before or the morning of, be sure to put any proteins or frozen items in the fridge so it’s thawed by the time you get home.


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