Everything we eat affects our health, so planning meals is worth the effort. Meal planning doesn’t need to take a lot of time and money. You’ll actually spend less time in the grocery store or kitchen—removing stress from busy weeknights and giving you more time for the things you love. It also helps you stick to a budget and ensure your meals are well-balanced.
1. Stock up on recipes that everyone will enjoy.
Try a variety of meals, and don’t be afraid of new ones that excite you. Keep the dishes you like in a homemade recipe book or save them to your smartphone so you can easily find them while writing your shopping list.
Start by adding this Vegetable Pad Thai or Layered Taco Salad with Guacamole recipe to your rotation. These have common ingredients that are easy to use in other dishes.
2. Prep multiple meals ahead of time.
Figure out how many people you’re cooking for and how much food you’ll need. Then try making meals for three to five days at a time. You'll cut down the time spent planning and cooking meals. It also saves multiple trips to the grocery store and helps prevent food waste.
3. Create a shopping list and stick to it.
Organize your shopping list before you head to the grocery store. Stick to your list, and don’t add unnecessary items. That way, you know what you’ll get and can estimate the cost. This will help you avoid impulse buying, too.
4. Prep your snacks and drinks, too.
Meal planning includes your mid-day or evening snacks, so be sure to keep that in consideration. Choose drinks you want with each meal and add them to your grocery list, too. Every bit of preparation makes a difference.
Try our Light and Stormy Mocktail to mix up your drinks with dinner and our Chocolate Almond Protein Bites are great on-the-go snacks.
How do you plan for well-balanced, nutritious meals? By including a variety of foods from different nutrient groups. These groups include:1
Meal planning with recipes that include all these nutrient groups, like our Mix-&-Match Bowl, is an excellent way to eat a balanced diet. Explore even more healthy eating ideas by talking with a MOBE Guide. Get started today.
1. “Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity: Planning Meals,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 3, 2022, accessed December 15, 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/meals.html.