How can menu planning help? The first key to eating healthy or sticking to your recovery plan is having food options on hand. It is common for clients to share that our goals started out well but then we ran out of food and I was tempted to eat out or hit the vending machine. We’ve all been there. Life gets in the way and it’s hard to stay on track, regardless or what we are trying to accomplish.

Menu Planning Tips

When it comes to food shopping and meal planning here are a couple of tricks that can help you be prepared!

1. Look at the week ahead

What events do you have going on? What nights are you working late? Any practices or games or school events for your children? Make sure to not plan a lengthy dinner on these nights! A white board with a calendar is helpful for your whole family to plan out the week with both events and meals.

2. Pick your meals

I try to pick one or two new recipes I’ve seen online or “pinned” to my boards and incorporate them for the week. See how you can also use some of these same ingredients in different meals. For example if a recipe your pick calls for beans, maybe that will be a side dish the following night or mixed into a salad for lunch. We have plenty of blogs with quick dinner ideas like these!

3. Don’t forget breakfast and lunch!

Most of the time we will plan out dinners but forget to prep anything for breakfast or lunch! I usually rotate between 2-3 different breakfast and lunch ideas, enough to get variety without a lot of prep or buying too much food.

4. Keep a running grocery list on your phone

I usually buy some of the same staples each week so it helps to have a list with me, especially if I run to the store after work. It is also easy to add to as you run out of things or come across a new recipe.

5. Shop for work

Make sure to also pick up some things you can keep at work for either quick snacks or lunches. This may be easier than trying to bring in a bunch of different things each day.

6. Take advantage of weekends

The more prep you can do including chopping, cooking and packing, the easier your weeks will be! If you’re making Sunday dinner and the oven is on, throw in some extra chicken for Monday and Tuesday.

7. Grocery Delivery

This is becoming a popular service that can be helpful for weeks where you cannot even get to the store. You can shop online and have it delivered to your door! While there is a delivery fee, you may actually save money since you will not be tempted to pick up things not on your list. Check to see if your local store has this service!

Blog inspired by Kait Fortunato, RD, LD, CEDRD

How do you prepare for busy weeks? Let us know! Make an appointment with one of our dietitians by clicking here or calling 301-474-2499. 

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Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients.  Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and  Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.