One of the keys to reduce stress around meals is having a plan. Often finding the time to plan or prep meals is challenging or something you may not find enjoyable. Keep it simple. This doesn’t mean you have to create elaborate meals with a ton of ingredients. Use premade proteins, canned goods or precut fresh or frozen items as needed. Below are tips to make meal planning and prep easier.
Set aside 5-10 minutes to write down meals for the week.
Tip: plan for 3-4 dinners each week. Simple meal examples: rotisserie chicken salad, chicken sausage with roasted onions and peppers, frozen shrimp with stir fry vegetables.
Create a shopping list.
Try using an app to keep track of what you need during the week. The “To Do” app is one I have found helpful. A nice feature about this app is you can share it with someone, all users then have access to add or remove items from the list. As you run out of an item, add it to the list for your next grocery shopping trip.
Pick a day to go shopping
Most grocery stores now offer options to order online for pick up or delivery.
Stock up on frozen and shelf stable items to reduce frequency of shopping
Frozen items: fruits, vegetables, protein and frozen meals (examples: Eat Local, Healthy Choice Simply Steamers)
Pantry items: beans, brown rice, whole wheat or lentil pasta, premade sauces/salad dressings, nuts, seeds, protein bars and shakes
Organize your refrigerator
Keep your produce and grab and go snacks easily accessible on the top shelves. Cut up the produce you plan to use for the next couple days, or to save time purchasing precut and washed or frozen items. Store your raw animal proteins in a separate draw to prevent cross contamination with the fresh produce.
By Allie Coulter, PRO Medical Registered Dietitian
PRO Medical’s Registered Dietitians provide personalized meal plans and education to support you in making realistic lifestyle changes and in achieving your individual goals. We have experts in a variety of areas and provide support for adults, pediatrics and families.
For healthy recipes that you can use these seasonal ingredients in, view our recipes here.