Meal planning can save time and money while making eating healthily easier – however it can also be daunting for beginners.
Meal plans tailored specifically towards managing health conditions like diabetes or heart disease often feature consultation from a registered dietitian.
Students have until the 10th class day in every semester to make modifications to their contracted meal plan, with any unused meals rolling over into the next term.
How often do you meal plan?
Meal plans are rigid templates outlining what should be eaten at each meal, without taking into account your schedule, food needs or personal preferences or nutritional requirements. Meal plans may also be designed to help achieve short-term goals such as weight loss or managing blood sugar.
Without a plan in place, it can be easy to end up purchasing more food than necessary at the supermarket, leading to wasted food and money. To prevent this from happening, it is a smart idea to conduct an inventory of your refrigerator and pantry prior to shopping – this can be accomplished using an app on your phone or even pen and paper!
How much time do you spend meal planning?
Meal planning can differ for every individual; some follow plans designed around specific outcomes, like weight loss or cholesterol improvement goals, while others plan meals on a schedule, such as to accommodate for workouts or family dinners.
Meal planning can save time and effort no matter your goal. The key is planning ahead. Take an inventory of what items you already own before creating a list of everything needed; record this on paper or use an app like Notes on your phone to record this. Cross off items you already own so as to prevent overbuying while saving money!
Food waste reduction is another crucial element. On average, Americans throw away 400 pounds of food annually – which adds up quickly when you consider what it costs to produce and store this produce. To minimize food waste, create a meal plan with recipes using ingredients you already have on hand; include your family to help stick to it more easily!
Students can customize or downgrade their dining plans online during the first two weeks of every semester, with any leftover funds carrying over from Fall to Spring until expiring upon conclusion of Spring term.
What are your goals for meal planning?
Meal planning can be used as an effective strategy for either eating healthier or saving money; creating a weekly meal plan provides a road map towards reaching your goal more efficiently.
As part of creating your meal plan, it’s essential that you consider both your busiest and lightest days of the week when creating it. This will enable you to accurately gauge the amount of time available for shopping and cooking activities. Furthermore, before buying anything new it may be beneficial to first use up any ingredients stored in cupboards, fridges or freezers which need using up.
Once you’ve planned out your meals for the week, it’s time to create a grocery list and hit the store! Some may prefer going grocery shopping on weekends and spending a day or two prepping their meals; others prefer doing their shopping midweek and cooking as needed – there’s no right or wrong approach; just find what works for you!
How much time do you spend cooking?
OnePoll and Bosch Home Appliances recently conducted a poll which indicated that Americans spend on average about 67 minutes daily cooking in their kitchens – totalling an estimated 400 hours annually! To reduce time spent in your kitchen, create meal plans with recipes featuring simple ingredients and short cooking times. Also, include your family in this process so they feel included and more likely to try new food! By creating meal prep meals ahead of time and freezing them for later consumption, meal prepping saves both time and effort on cleanup! Food can be stored safely in the fridge for four days and three months in the freezer before it may need to be used or thrown out as per its shelf life or expiry. Be sure to monitor for signs of spoilage such as odor, color change or mold growth and use or discard as necessary.
What are your meal prep methods?
Meal prepping can take many different forms; some people like to plan meals for an entire week while others like pre-cooking ingredients that can be used across multiple recipes throughout the week. Both methods have their own advantages; experimentation is key when finding what fits with your lifestyle and goals best.
Food preparation should aim to produce enough leftovers to last multiple days or more – this way you’ll avoid eating out during the week, which can be both expensive and stressful.
Meal planning with food that can be prepared ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer can help save time, such as whole proteins (chicken, fish, tofu, eggs), veggies that can be roasted or stir-fried before roasting or sauteing, grains such as rice and canned/dried beans.
On your meal prep day, prioritize foods that take the longest to prepare (proteins, grains and veggies). Also prepare some components for weekday snack or dinner prep: washed greens, hardboiled eggs, chopped fruit are great options. Be sure to label all items stored in the fridge or freezer with dates so that you can track how long they’ve been sitting there, which will reduce food waste.
What are your grocery shopping habits?
Whatever works for you is up to you: whether that means shopping and cooking all week in one sitting or splitting up your shopping over several days, meal planning can be as flexible or structured as necessary. What matters most is creating a list of meals and ingredients needed each week before heading grocery shopping – then sticking to that list so only buying what is needed for those recipes.
To reduce food waste, it’s a smart strategy to first ensure everything you need for cooking and storage is available before planning your shopping list. Knowing which seasonal produce is available can also be advantageous, enabling you to take advantage of sales or lower prices when necessary.
Last but not least, be sure to utilize any grocery stores you visit regularly’s rewards programs in order to save more money on groceries! Grocery store rewards programs typically provide special offers on certain items during certain weeks or months and this is a great way of saving even more! Additionally, meal planning templates online provide plenty of choices, just be wary if they prescribe exactly when and what meals should be consumed!
What are your food preferences?
Food preferences and rules differ: Taste preferences rely on internal factors like taste and textures as well as how certain foods make you feel. Food rules on the other hand based on external considerations like calories or hunger. If your thinking around food has become rigid and restrictive, working with a registered dietitian could help challenge those rules and provide greater freedom when eating. Click here for more info!
*Meal plans are prescriptive templates outlining exactly what to eat; meal coaching involves being guided and guided by an RDN to plan meals that best suit you and meet all nutritional standards.