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5 tips to create a weekly meal plan

Cooking dinner every night can be a daunting task, and that’s why it’s important to establish a game plan for the week. Meal planning is a time-saving, cost-efficient tactic that cuts down on excess groceries and makes your time spent in the kitchen quick and easy.

Meal Planning Tips

1. Plan your meals around ingredients you already have. Look through your cupboard or pantry and try to come up with a few meal options based on the items you already have. You can also search through cookbooks, magazines or go on-line to find recipes that may hold interest. Also, try to plan meals with similar ingredients, like rice or beans, so you will only have to cook them once, but you can eat them multiple times throughout the week.

2. Make a shopping list. Write out all of the ingredients you need on a shopping list. Or, make a list of frequently used items and photocopy the list.  Use this form each time you shop to save time.

“If you have a list and an idea of what you want to prepare for the week, it’s easier to bypass the candy and cookie aisle,” says Nancy Waldeck, a chef at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont.

Before you head to the store, check the grocery store’s on-line circular to see if any of the items you need are on sale.

3. Shop strategically. Look for items that will save you time in the kitchen like canned vegetables or beans, or pre-cut vegetables. Buying frozen produce is also a great way to cut down on prep and cooking time.

4. Prep meals as soon as you get home from the store. You don’t have to cook all of your meals at once, but begin prepping your ingredients as soon as you get home from the grocery store. It could be as simple as chopping up all of your vegetables and putting them into container, or cutting up all of your chicken or beef to have them recipe-ready.

5. Create a monthly rotation of your favorite meals and recipes. Create a calendar of all of your favorite meals that you can refer back to.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, click here.

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