Meal Planning for Better Health and Wellbeing
Better health and wellbeing can start in the kitchen with the simple act of meal planning.
There are many reasons to engage in weekly meal planning:
- Save time.
- Save money.
- Make less poor choices.
- Eat more variety.
- Waste less food.
- Focus on season produce.
- Eat a more nutritionally balanced diet.
- Reduce stress as you avoid last minute decisions about what to eat, or rushed preparation.
Meal planning simply makes life more sane.
How to Meal Plan
In my family, we try to meal plan on the weekends. After eating a leisurely weekend breakfast, we sit down with our meal planner and map out several meals for the week ahead and divvy up cooking and shopping duties.
Here are some meal planning strategies we use:
- Check the calendar. Look ahead at the week and see what days you realistically have time to prep food and cook. You may choose to do some food preparation on a weekend day for the workweek ahead. If you live with other people, assign weekly cooking and shopping tasks.
- Shop your pantry, fridge and freezer. What do you you have around that needs to be used?
- Think seasonal. What fruits and vegetables are in season right now? Not only is locally-sourced seasonal produce fresher, it also has more nutrients.
- Mix things up. Explore a new recipe for the coming week. Mix old favorites with new dishes.
- Picture the plate. According to Harvard Health, the healthiest way to eat is to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
Here is a meal planning sheet you can use:
Weekly Kitchen Tasks
Here are a handful of tasks I try to do on a weekly basis
- Choose new recipes for the coming week.
- Fill out weekly meal planner.
- Take a shopping trip.
- Restock kitchen staples.
- Harvest from the garden.
- Take food out of your freezer.
- Arrange fresh produce where I'll be enticed to use it.
- Clean and chop veggies for easy use later.
- Make meals for lunches away from home.
- Make easy to eat foods ahead of time.
- Make salad dressings and sauces.
Daily Kitchen Tasks
Here are a handful of tasks I do daily:
- Check the meal plan. Adjust if necessary.
- Chop and prep ingredients for the next day's meal.
- Get out lunch containers needed for tomorrow's lunch.
- Get the family involved in planning and prepping food.
Invest in your Future Healthy Self!
Meal planning and weekly food prep is investment in your future self! By planning and organizing your time in the kitchen, you can give your body the healthy food you deserve and you make your life more sane and enjoyable.