Living a nutritious lifestyle is something we can all strive to do on a regular basis. Even with this in mind, planning your meals ahead of time can become an overwhelming task when busy schedules and daily obligations come into play. However, it doesn’t have to be with all of the resources now available. Allotting a specific time each week to prepare your meals for the week ahead is a great way to stay on track with a healthy diet and to cut down on time spent cooking throughout the week.
For our continued celebration of National Nutrition Month, Mallory Crutchfield, RD/LD, Jennifer Watkins, RD/LD, and Kerri Francis, PLD, members of the Hillcrest South dietary team, share their top tips on meal planning.
· Take away stress and save time by doing prep work the night before.
- Cut up fresh vegetables
- Cook meats
- Put all ingredients together to easily transfer to cooking dish
· Explore alternatives for certain ingredients to help reduce fat.
- Unsweetened applesauce instead of butter, shortening or oil (same portion size)
- Plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream
- Fresh herbs and spices instead of salt and pre-made seasoning packets
· Get creative with your leftovers and use them for another meal instead of wasting.
- Use extra rice for a vegetable stir-fry
- Freeze overly ripened fruits for smoothies
- Use cooked vegetables in a casserole
· To reduce costs on fresh ingredients, buy produce seasonally.
- Shop at farmers’ markets for locally grown produce
· Plan weekly to avoid getting overwhelmed and tired of the same foods.
· Save your favorite recipes in one place.
· Incorporate protein into all of your planned meals.
· Store your meals in airtight containers for an extended period of maximum freshness.
To help with your efforts in meal planning, our dietary team shared some of their favorite recipes. To view the recipes, click on the meals below.