Have you ever packed your fridge with healthy whole foods, only to watch them go bad because you couldn't find the time to cook? Deciphering which foods are healthiest to eat can be challenging enough without figuring how to make them into a meal. The truth is that healthy ingredients don't do you much good without a healthy meal plan.
A meal plan is simply a schedule of the meals your family will eat for the upcoming week. While it may sound time-consuming, meal planning can save you both time and money. Meal planning has numerous benefits: you gain more control over your diet, so you can vary it up easily by adding in new recipes each week. You can also see potential deficits in your diet by observing what you eat more of (or not enough of) and adjust accordingly.
Here are some great ways to get started on a weekly meal plan:
Make a plan and write out a grocery list every week. Before you head to the grocery store, create a list of recipes for the week, assess which ingredients you’ll need to purchase and which you already have. That way you won't over-purchase, and you won’t run into any surprises during the week.
Use your freezer. Freeze meats like fish and chicken and purchase frozen fruits and veggies — they'll keep longer than if you'd kept them in the fridge. If you don’t end up using them that week, they won't go to waste. Just roll that recipe over to the next week. You can also prep a few day's worth of freezer meals ahead of time for busy nights when you're too tired to do much more than preheat your oven.
Make more than you need. This is where meal planning saves time. When you cook a meal like roast beef, you can use the leftovers for soup or sandwiches the next day. If you can, double your recipes so they'll last for lunches and dinners later in the week.
Get your family in on the action! Put family favorites into regular rotation, and let the kids pick one meal a week so they feel involved.
Keep your pantry well-stocked. Canned vegetables, fruit, fish, tomato sauce, whole grain noodles, oatmeal, dry whole grains and beans are excellent ingredients to have on hand in case you don't have time to run to the store at the beginning of the week. Plus, these healthy foods have a long shelf life.
For more tips on healthy meal planning, consult a registered dietitian with Goshen Health Nutrition Therapy.
Posted: 5/04/2016 by
Filed under: healthy eating, nutrition