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Meal Planning - Eat (S)Well

Meal Planning - Eat (S)Well
In the midst of a hectic schedule, effective meal planning is a valuable skill that can help you eat healthier, save money, and reduce food waste. Here are some "swell"  tips to help make life easier:
  1. Set Your Goals:

    • Determine your meal planning goals. Whether it's to eat healthier, save time, or stick to a budget, having clear objectives will guide your planning.
  2. Create a Meal Plan Calendar:

    • Design a calendar for the week or month, and decide how many meals and snacks you need to plan for.
  3. Inventory Check:

    • Take an inventory of what you already have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. This will help you use up items that are about to expire and avoid unnecessary purchases.
  4. Choose Balanced Meals:

    • Plan meals that are balanced with a variety of food groups, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.
  5. Consider Dietary Restrictions:

    • If you have dietary restrictions or specific nutritional needs, be sure to account for these in your meal planning.
  6. Recipe Collection:

    • Gather a collection of recipes that you enjoy and are within your skill level. This can include cookbooks, online recipes, or family favorites.
  7. Plan Your Meals:

    • Start filling in your meal calendar with specific recipes for each meal. Consider what you'll have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
  8. Batch Cooking:

    • Plan for batch cooking when possible. Prepare larger quantities of certain dishes that you can portion and freeze for later use.
  9. Variety and Leftovers:

    • Include variety in your plan, but also embrace leftovers. For example, a big pot of soup can serve as multiple meals throughout the week.
  10. Make a Shopping List:

    • Based on your planned meals and the ingredients you need, create a comprehensive shopping list. Stick to your list to avoid impulse purchases.
  11. Shop Smart:

    • When shopping, choose fresh and whole foods. The perimeter of the store often contains the healthiest options.
  12. Prep in Advance:

    • After shopping, wash and chop vegetables, marinate proteins, and prepare some components of your meals in advance to streamline cooking during the week.
  13. Portion Control:

    • Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating and to help reduce food waste.
  14. Label and Date:

    • Label leftovers and prepped ingredients with the date to ensure freshness and prevent food from going to waste.
  15. Adaptability:

    • Be flexible with your meal plan. Life can be unpredictable, so be prepared to switch meals around or use prepped ingredients for different recipes.
  16. Monitor and Adjust:

    • Keep track of what works and what doesn't in your meal planning. Adjust your plan based on your experiences.
  17. Enjoy the Process:

    • Meal planning can be a creative and enjoyable process. Experiment with new recipes and ingredients to keep it interesting.

Meal planning doesn't need to be a chore. Simplify it by tailoring it to your lifestyle, preferences, and goals. Over time, you'll become more a pro at creating meal plans that work for you and your family.


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