Benefits of Meal Planning

By: Catherine G., RDN, LD

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It can be hard to stick with your health goals when you are hungry or busy. That’s often when we’re tempted to grab a frozen meal or pull into a drive through. However, with a little planning, healthier options can be easier to choose during busy times. Here are some benefits and tips to make meal planning easier.

Benefits to Meal Planing

  • Save Money
    • Base meals on what you have at home 
    • Check for weekly sales; use coupons
    • Eat at home more often than eating out
    • Decrease impulse buying
    • Less food waste
  • Save Time and Reduce Stress
    • Reduce trips to the store
    • No more last-minute meal planning after a long day                                                                      
  • Higher Meal Scores
    • Enter in the meals you plan to make into the DayTwo app to be sure they score well
    • Easier to reach your health goals when you always know the plan

Meal Planning Tips

  • Plan half of the plate to be non-starchy vegetables
    • Vegetables are full of nutrients that are important for our bodies. Don’t limit yourself to just salads. You could try:
      • Zucchini or edamame noodles
      • Mashed or riced cauliflower
      • Spaghetti squash
      • Roasted tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, or onions
    • You may also find it easier to get your DayTwo score above an 8 when using non-starchy vegetables in meals and side dishes.
  • Cook proteins in big batches
    • Cooking meat or chicken can be time consuming. Already preparing chicken? Cook extra, then plan your other meals around it. For example:
      • Chicken fajitas
      • Chicken salad
      • Stir-fry
      • Chicken noodle soup
  • Have a prep day
    • Put aside 15 minutes one day a week to wash/cut fruits and veggies to make them more convenient for snacks or meals later in the week. You may want to store them with a dry paper towel to reduce the moisture and keep them fresh longer.
    • Choose fruits and vegetables that need little preparation and score well.
    • Some examples may include:
      • Baby carrots
      • Mini bell peppers
      • Bagged broccoli or cauliflower
      • Grapes
      • Coleslaw mix
      • Frozen fruit or vegetables
  • Keep high scoring meals on hand
    • For those extra busy days, be sure to keep ingredients on hand that you can easily throw together to create high scoring meals, which might include:
      • Tuna salad
      • Omelet
      • Turkey wrap
      • Ham and cheese sandwich

Want more ideas? Talk to your Health Guide or Dietitian for personalized recommendations.

 

 

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