Planning ahead

Planning your meals ahead of time will actually save you time and money in the long-run, and help you stay on track with healthier food options.
meal plan chart
Here are some ways to plan ahead:

  • Plan as a family. Have family members suggest different healthy meals they want for the week.
  • Buy meat in bulk, then season, divide into portions and freeze. When prepping for a week’s worth of meals, place each entrée in a glass container, so you can easily identify its content at a moment’s notice.
  • Plan meals by using a checklist of proteins, fruits and veggies and side dishes of all the colors of the rainbow. This makes it much more fun and exciting when the kids actually choose to eat or try foods like purple eggplant or yellow squash blossoms.
  • Have a meal that you serve once every week.
  • On the weekends (or days when you have more time), make bigger meals or meals you can double to freeze such as lasagna or enchiladas, to reheat during the week
  • Be flexible! For some people, using a very precise menu for every day of the week works well, but some people actually find it more stressful to be tied into food that their family may or may not be excited about that day. Another option is to plan a loose guide of the proteins and general veggies for the week and make what sounds good in the moment.

What other ways do you like to plan ahead? Comment below!


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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)