Reshaping eating habits can be tricky for many people, but one thing is certain to promote success: meal planning. Meal planning takes time and dedication, but once you get the hang of it, it’s just filling in the blanks.
Before you get started, ask yourself these questions:
1. How many meals do you want to cook from scratch each week?
2. How many times a week do you grocery shop?
3. Do you like leftovers?
Your answers will dictate how you plan. Here are six tips to set you up for successful meal planning:
1. Join Pinterest
- That world is your oyster and gives you access to millions of recipes of all sorts
- This is great profile to follow!
2. Know what ingredients you already have on hand
- Take a peek in your pantry and refrigerator to get inspiration; no need to buy duplicate ingredients or be wasteful
3. Stock up on staples - when you have no idea what to make for dinner, at least you can whip up a soup or omelet
- Oils: olive, avocado, coconut
- Canned tomatoes (check ingredients - no added sugar)
- Canned coconut milk
- Canned beans
- Grains or grain-free carbs: quinoa, lentils, beans, oats
- Onions, potatoes & garlic
4. Double recipes and freeze leftovers
- If you’re taking the time to make a soup or stew (or anything that’s freezer-friendly), might as well double the recipe and freeze half for another week/month
5. Make a large batch of protein and roasted veggies early in the week to use for multiple reinvented meals
- Make a large batch of slow cooker shredded chicken or quinoa to utilize for stuffed sweet potatoesone day, a salad the next and a buddha bowl on day three. Just make sure you follow food storage safety rules, which can be reviewed here
6. Follow a template. Be consistent, but not redundant so you get tired of ‘X’ meal
- On Mondays, find a new salad
- On Tuesdays, find a new stuffed sweet potato dinner
- On Wednesdays, find a new Buddha bowl, and so on
These six tips can help you win at meal planning, which gets you closer towards accomplishing your health and wellness goals. Utilize these kitchen tools to make prepping easier: a Slow Cooker, the Instant Pot, and/or a Spiralizer. If you’re old school and like jotting down your meals, check out this planner or you can download this spreadsheet to store on your computer. There are also meal planning apps, such as Mealtime and Today’s Parent Mealtime to keep your meal plans and grocery list on your mobile.
Misti Buie, Holistic Nutritionist
Misti, owner of Balanced Foodies, is a holistic nutritionist specializing in pre and postnatal nutrition consulting. She is passionate about helping others revitalize their health and wellness by reshaping their eating habits. Whether you are combatting morning sickness, gestational diabetes, healthy weight management, or need help coming up with healthy snacks after baby arrives, she can help design a meal plan specific to your needs and diet. Her services include meal planning, pantry/refrigerator makeovers and cooking with families. In addition, she is an introduction to solid foods educator and works with parents to help them provide healthy meals for their families