National Nutrition Month: Plan your Meals and Snacks
Plan and Prep: Keys to Success for Busy Weeks
When our weeks get busy, hectic, and crowded by daily tasks, food choices often come down to convenience. Packaged convenience foods are often loaded with preservatives, and added sugars, and should only be used occasionally rather than relied on.
Having a plan can help take away much of the stress of day-to-day meal prep. If you only go to the grocery store once per week, try to plan multiple meals ahead of time. If you are able to go more than once, plan 2 or 3 meals in advance, and then head back to the store in the middle of the week.
Once you’ve laid out your plan for the week, start your list. Writing a list can be daunting, but there are several ways to make it easier each week.
Start with a basic list that can be repeated every week. This is called your “staples list”.
This should include: Two sources of protein, two veggies, a fruit choice or two, and some sort of snack! A staples list will help you remain prepared for a few meals without doing much additional planning. Then, when time allows, plan additional meals and snacks to add to your list.
Once we have a plan, some additional prep can come into play.
Meal prep can be as involved as bulk cooking, pre-portioning, and packing up three square meals a day OR as minor as chopping veggies the morning of a meal to avoid fatigued choices later in the day.
I like to start with small steps for meal prep, like portioning out a snack, pre-cutting and preparing for a meal, or doubling a recipe to take for leftovers the next day. If these things work for you, try some more advanced meal prepping strategies!
Have more questions about meal planning and prep? Ask your provider for a referral to our nutrition team!
Emily Calder, MS, RDN, LDN
DMC Primary Care