WPG Health Update: The Benefits of Meal Planning
When we eat on the run or make last minute meals, we tend to make less than healthy choices. Meal planning is a huge part of eating healthy and will ultimately save you time, calories and even money, since less food will be wasted.
Once a week, take some time plan what you and your family will be eating. If you are someone who dreads cooking dinner after working all day, prepping meals in advance takes the guess work and stress out of dinner and helps you avoid fast food, take out or other fattening choices.
When you plan your meals and make a list of ingredients, you know just what to get at the grocery store, so you avoid impulse shopping and you’ll be sure to use everything you buy.
My husband and I plan our meals and shop every Sunday. We cook Sunday night and again on Wednesdays refrigerating most of what we make so we can just re-heat it during the week for our family. Some of our favorites are turkey burgers, whole turkeys, chicken breast, salmon, and steamed green vegetables such as broccoli or string beans. We often leave our food just a bit undercooked, so when we reheat it, it will be perfect. For breakfast, we eat organic eggs with vegetables such as zucchini or spinach and mushrooms so we buy a lot of eggs and veggies. We always have a salad with dinner, so we get lots of dark lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes and cucumbers. In addition to fresh fruits, such as berries, apples and oranges, we also keep the freezer stocked with and frozen fruit for smoothies. We are not very fancy eaters, but we try to change things up with different spices and a variety of ways to use the same food.
If you want to start planning meals in advance, decide what meals you will have for the week and jot down the ingredients needed to make them. Only purchase the items on your list so you don’t overbuy and run the risk of wasting food. Make foods you can cook in large quantities and freeze such as casseroles, sauces, soups and gravies. Use half and freeze the other half for use at another time. There are many apps you can download that have wonderful healthy recipes that will create a list of ingredients for you when you go to the grocery store.