Meal Planning Made Easy

It is often those last-minute decisions that cause havoc in your diet. Meal planning can be overwhelming at first. Remember, meal planning does not translate to cooking 7 days a week. Use the following meal planning tips to boost the balance in your diet with minimal effort.

  1. Stock up when you can: For example, when boneless/skinless chicken is on sale, cook it up and freeze it. Pull out the frozen chicken when needed and use in casseroles, soups, and burritos/tacos.
  2. Try batch cooking whenever possible: Make extra meatballs, meatloaf (in muffin tins), or casseroles. Use one for dinner and freeze the rest for later.
  3. Make extra grains: Grains can be recycled during the week and used in salads, bowls, or as a side. For example, the Chicken and Quinoa Buddha Bowl is loaded with good-for-you foods and can be made with leftovers.
  4. Eat breakfast (or lunch) for dinner: Breakfast is easy and can be a quick and healthy dinner option.
  5. Rely on convenience foods but choose wiselySome favorite nutrient-packed convenience foods include frozen fruits and vegetables, canned beans, frozen ravioli and tortellini, pre-shredded reduced fat cheeses, and jarred pasta sauce and salsa.
  6. Turn to appliances that deliver easy meals: The crock pot and the pressure cooker are great tools in the kitchen. The Instant Pot and air fryer also offer quick fixes.
  7. Mise en place: This is a French term for “everything in its place.” Try to measure out and prep ingredients ahead of time so when dinner rolls around, everything is ready to go! Prepping in advance is a great time saver when it comes to mealtime.
  8. Make “MyPlate” your template: Simply speaking, try to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables and the other half with whole grains and lean protein.
  9. Create combo meals: Try stir fries, sheet-pan meals, casseroles, and all-in-one skillet meals. One-pot meals will also save time with clean up! Sesame Shrimp Stir-Fry is an option that can be made in 30 minutes.
  10. Prepare some of the meal, but not all: Stop at the prepared foods department and pick up a protein or supplement your meal with some favorite sides.

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