How to Meal Plan Like a Pro

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Between work, school, sports practices, family commitments, and social or community events it can be hard for busy people and families to find time to grocery shop, prepare meals, let alone sit down to eat nourishing meals

Have a plan when you hear the words “What’s for dinner?”

Follow these five time saving tips to plan, shop for and prepare healthy meals for you and your family:

Keep a running list of you or your family’s favourite meals and regularly stock the ingredients you need to make them.
  • Meals don’t have to be Pinterest worthy to be nutritious.

Let go of pressure to prepare meals that look like they could be served in restaurants or at dinner parties. Veggies and dip are just as nutritious as salad.

Think of starches, vegetables and protein as the key components of any balanced meal. Examples include pasta with meatballs and salad, or rice with broccoli and beef stir-fry. Eating well does not have to involve elaborate meals.

  • Stock what you need to make a few favourites quickly.

Keep a running list of you or your family’s favourite meals and regularly stock the ingredients you need to make them. Baked macaroni and cheese, slow cooker pulled pork, or your favourite chili. By having ingredients for favourites on hand, you’ll have what you needs to put a great meal together on short notice.

  • Plan ahead

Weekly meal planning is a simple way to ensure you have a plan when you hear the words “What’s for dinner?”. Whether you use a meal planning template or just jot down your family’s favourite meals in a list, you can use this list to come up with a list of ingredients to buy at your next grocery shop. By meal planning you can spend less time looking around your kitchen for ingredients and more time doing what’s important to you. Check out the Weekly Menu Plan and Grocery Shopping List template by Healthy Families BC for an example that I use in my kitchen.

Meal planning also makes it easy to incorporate new foods and recipes. Whether you’d like to have more meatless Mondays or fish Friday meal ideas in your repertoire, meal planning can help ensure you plan to have the right ingredients on hand.

  • Prep it and forget it

If many of your meals include a diced onion and some crushed garlic, save yourself time (and tears) by cutting them all up a once. Make a ‘cut list’ of all the veggies a few days of meals call for and get chopping. While you’re at it, cut-up a few more carrots, cucumbers, and peppers for a quick veggies and dip platter to include with a meal.

If any of your meals call for homemade sauces or seasoning blends, these can be mixed up ahead of time too.

  • Shop Online

Both Save-On Foods and Superstore have online shopping services that make it so easy to turn your grocery list into bags of groceries delivered right to your vehicle or front door. Not only can you add weekly flyer items right onto your order, but you can also save ingredient lists for favourite recipes and save grocery order lists. Reclaim precious time for everything else that matters with these great services

Eating well doesn’t have to be complicated. These simple steps will help to save you time and feed yourself and your family well.