LiveWell

Meal Planning Strategies

Would you like to eat healthy and make home cooked meals but find it difficult? After a long busy day, cooking dinner and preparing the following days lunch may be the last thing you want to do. However, a little bit of planning ahead can turn this problem into a piece of cake. The following strategies will help you make easy and quick homemade meals that you can enjoy throughout your week.

1. Plan ahead. At the beginning of your week think about what meals and snacks you would like to have in the coming week. The App Cookspiration created by Dietitians of Canada has an enormous variety of healthy recipes that will inspire you to try new recipes.

2. Create a recipe collection. Store this collection wherever works for you. You may use a home-made cookbook, a stack of magazine clippings, Pinterest, a file on your computer or an app on your phone like food.

3. Make a grocery list. Keep a pad of paper close to your fridge to remind yourself to write down ingredients you need. Shopping with a list will ensure your precious time at the grocery store is used efficiently. It will also help you stay on track at the grocery store to ensure you don’t miss any necessary ingredients.

4. Make time. Choose a day out of your week to prepare snacks and grocery shop. See grocery guide for ideas on how to shop for groceries on a budget. Preparing some healthy snacks to keep on hand will make you less likely to make an unhealthy impulse choice. Recommended snacks include: hummus and pre-chopped vegetables, homemade granola bars, yogurt, fresh fruit, follow this link for other healthy snack options.

5. Cook once, eat twice. If you are putting in the effort to make a full meal. Make enough to have 2 or 3 meals. This strategy allows you to cook once but reap the benefits for longer. Consider transforming the leftovers to add some variety. For example, a recipe using chicken breast like Tandoori-Spiced Chicken can be used at a separate meal in a wrap, fajita, quesadilla, a topping on a homemade pizza or mixed in a salad.

The University of Alberta offers a session on how to create a personalized meal plan with the help of a registered dietician. See Activity Registration to find out more information.