By: Meaghan Edwards- Registered Dietitian
Planning/preparing your meals in advance is a great way to save time throughout the week and also keep you from picking up food on the way home from work or while you are working. By taking the time to do this on the weekend, you will be able to have meals ready to go and just be heated up when you are feeling hungry. This is also a great money saver and helps reduce food waste. When you are planning your meals in advance, you will want to choose meals that are centered around a meat and include a vegetable and starch. To go one step further in planning, try to have a variety of color on your plate and choose things that are different textures (smoothy/crunchy) and temperatures (hot meat/fresh fruit/etc).
Color on your plate is very important. You want to try and make your plate look similar to a painter’s palate. Different colors of fruits and vegetables provide your body with different nutrients that are important to incorporate into your daily intake. This will provide your body with a variety of vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy in the long run. Do not get stuck with doing the same vegetable over and over again because then you will burn out on healthy eating and also be restricting yourself from nutrients found in different foods.
The more texture you add into your plan and different temperatures, the more variety there will be which will help keep you interested in the foods that you are eating. Examples of different textures would be smooth, crispy, crunchy, tender, flaky, etc. Examples of different temperatures would be cold, room temperature, and hot.
Once you have thought all of these through, plan out your meals! Look through your pantry, local ads, recipe books, and plan out what you and the family would like to eat throughout the week. Make your grocery list of the supplies that will be needed and get start on preparing the meals. You can even make it a family activity where each person can be responsible for preparing a side item, meal, etc. You can even make a menu plan that you post onto the refrigerator so that you can keep to your plan.
Planning and preparing out meals can feel like a very time consuming project, however once you get the hang of it and continue with the lifestyle change, you will notice how much easier your life is throughout the week.