Meal-Planning 101

Meal-Planning 101: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks

  1. Getting started
    1. Have your planner/schedule handy
    2. Piece of paper for writing down your menu
    3. Know what you already have in your fridge and pantry
  2. Questions to ask yourself
    1. How much time will I have to eat?
    2. Will I need to drive/walk while eating?
    3. How much time will I have to prepare dinner?
    4. Do I need to eat any meals away from home?
  3. Plan your meals and snacks
    1. Include carbohydrate, fat and protein in each
    2. Ensure your meals match your schedule (ex. will you need a microwave?)
    3. Include variety by meal, day or week
    4. Ensure you have enough plastic containers for your meals
  4. Choose a day to grocery shop
    1. Helpful to bring a grocery list and your meal plan to the store
    2. Be sure to cool and chill foods properly after returning home
    3. Don’t forget plastic snack and sandwich bags!
  5. Meal Preparation day
    1. Start with a clean kitchen and plenty of room to work
    2. Budget 3-4 hours to prepare all your food
    3. Begin with items that need to bake (ex. muffins or chicken)
    4. Keep cold items in fridge until you use them
    5. Helpful to focus on one item at a time (ex. assembling all your bags of trail mix at once)
    6. Don’t forget a water bottle and cooler bag with ice pack if necessary
  6. Store Safely
    1. Chill items within 2 hours of removing from fridge or cooking
    2. Chill quickly by placing hot items in the freezer for 10 minutes
    3. Be sure meat is cooked completely
    4. Cooked items last 4-6 days in the fridge; best to prepare the day before you plan to start your week of meals (i.e. prep on Sunday to begin eating Monday)
  7. Methods:
    1. Plan meals only for your busy days/days you aren’t home
    2. Plan breakfast, lunch and snacks only
    3. Plan and prep dinners only
    4. Plan and prep breakfast, lunch and snack, prep dinner (up to point of cooking)
    5. OK to have the same menu all week; change it up the next week

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