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Planning your Menu to Make Meal Prepping a Breeze

posted Sep 30, 2016, 4:35 AM by Sunamita Da Silva
There’s nothing quite like a home-cooked meal, and with a little planning ahead, it’s possible to forgo delivery. We talked about meal planning styles here. This week we’re focusing on where it all begins:

Getting started

It begins with knowing thyself. Are you okay with taking a weekend day off to do all of your cooking? Do you hate going through leftovers over and over, or are you the wing-it kind of person? The idea here is, the more you know your meal prep habits, the easier it will be to plan your week’s menu.

Planning a menu for the entire week ahead of time accomplishes two things (in addition of course, to having all that great meal-time with family): the first is it gives you an opportunity to eat more balanced meals by adding variety, different colors, textures, and choices to your menu; and the second is it will save you a LOT of time at the grocery store. And, if you successfully shop for the whole week, you won’t have to make small trips to the store during the week for forgotten ingredients.

Divide and conquer

There are many great websites, books and magazines out there to inspire you. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website is a great place to start. Another go-to of ours is the Cooking Light magazine website, and for a quick list of registered dietitian-approved meals check out our list of recipes here.

To make recipe selection even easier and reduce food waste, start by taking inventory of what you already have at home. Once you’ve done that, choose your recipes, write down the ingredients you need to buy, and hit the grocery store! (Preferably at non-peak hours to save even more time).

If the thought of planning a whole week’s worth of food is giving you anxiety, try creating food themes (think pizza night, Asian night, etc.) and that should make things a little easier.

Don’t despair

In the end, meal planning should be fun and make your week a little easier for you. If a full five-day menu is too much at first, start small and pre-plan a couple of days, then add more as you feel comfortable. If you keep at it, you’ll eventually be doing this in your sleep! Well, okay, maybe not in your sleep…

Happy planning!

 

For more information on meal planning visit:

http://www.letsmove.gov/plan-healthy-meal

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/planning-and-shopping-with-fruits-and-vegetables

https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/nutrition/resources/menuguides.htm

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