3 min|Rhiannon Lockhart
Fall into Routine: Meal PlanningWellness, Nutrition
As school starts and the weather cools, its the perfect time to get back into a meal planning routine for you and your family.Preparing meals in advance is the best way to save time during the week, especially if your evenings are spent with a variety of extra curricular activities.
However, getting started with meal planning can seem daunting! I promise, it doesn't have to be when you have the right steps.
5 tips to start meal planning today
1. Get inspiration!The first phase of starting any routine is intention. So before you even start in the kitchen, get inspired to make meals! Follow easy recipe creators on Instagram, check out Pinterest, or pull out your tried-and-true cookbooks.
Try to do this once per week, and even ask input from your family. Choose meals that look easy to make and can be made in large quantities.
2. Choose meals with similar ingredientsTo reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen, choose meals that have similar ingredients. For example, brown rice or quinoa can be used for:
- Stuffing in peppers
- A side salad mixed with veggies
- Added to veggie burgers
- The base of a stir-fry
- Mixed with taco seasoning as a plant-based taco-filler
3. Choose only one mealIf you're new to planning, plan only one meal per day. Do you struggle most with lunches? Dinners? Breakfast?
Most people choose dinner as their meal to focus on, especially if they are feeding children. When you make enough, dinner can also be tomorrow's lunch!
4. Make ahead only 1-2 meals (or batch cook!)You're not expected to make ALL of your meals in one day! If you are cooking for just yourself, you may find it easy to plan and prepare everything in one afternoon, then have food all week long.
For those with a family, you may find it easy to prepare just the basics. For example:
- Clean vegetables and roughly chop for your planned recipes. Place them in containers in the fridge.
- Pre-chop onion and garlic in a sealed container for easy cleaning (and less tears)
- Make one big soup or stew in a pressure cooker or slow cooker
- Cook up a big batch of grains
- Roast a large chicken (it can make a variety of meals, and takes minimal work from you!)
- Roast all of your favourite vegetables. These make easy snacks for you and your family to pick at through the week!
- Defrost and marinade protein sources
5. Make a calendarCreate a calendar for the week so you keep track of what you planned to make with everything you've prepared. When weeks get busy, it's easy to lose track of our original plan and just order in.
Pro tip: add a list of the fruits and veggies you still have in your fridge. Put the ones that need to be consumed first near the top of the list so you know what needs to get used up.
And finally, meal planning takes practice. You won't get it right the first time, but the best you can do is try!
Need help creating a plan for you and your family? Book an appointment with our Registered Holistic Nutritionist!
Rhiannon is the Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Integrative. She has a passion for making healthy eating easy, accessible and fun, loves getting outside, and enjoys spending time with her dog, Chloe!