Ask the Dietitian: 4 Tips for Planning Weekly Meals
Meal planning can you help you save money, save time, and eat a healthier diet. It can also reduce stress, as you avoid last-minute decisions about what to make for dinner. These tips can help make meal planning easier.
1. Choose the meals you want to make.
Start off by deciding what meals you want to prepare for the coming week. Make a note of the ingredients you currently have on hand and use these items in the upcoming week’s meals.
You can find new ideas for healthy and low-cost meals in the Eat section of Rhode Ahead and on the “What’s Cooking?” website from The United States Department of Agriculture.
2. Organize your list.
Review the meals in your weekly plan and make a list of all the ingredients you need to make them. Make shopping quick and easy by organizing your list into different sections of the supermarket or food groups.
It can also be helpful to keep an ongoing grocery list in your kitchen or on a free mobile app, and add items as you run out. Some mobile apps allow you to sync grocery lists with others in your household.
3. Plan your meals.
You can help reduce stress and save time by planning your meals. Use a weekly planner, calendar, or worksheet to jot down your meals for each night of the week. Start off small by aiming to create enough dinners for two to three days of the week. Save new recipes for days that you have a bit more time. On your busiest day, plan to have leftovers.
Also consider preparing staple foods that everyone in the family enjoys and which you can easily add to a weekday meal or grab for a snack, such as washed greens for a salad, hardboiled eggs, a bowl of chopped fruit, and cooked beans.
4.Cook in bulk.
Cooking in bulk or batches can make it easier to have homemade meals during the week. When you’re making a recipe, make extra portions for another day or two of meals, or to freeze for a different week. Be sure to date and label what goes in the freezer so you know what you have on hand.
For lunches, get a head start by using individual meal containers. Divide cooked food into the containers on prep day.
Need help with your health?
If you’d like help with meal planning, losing weight, or managing a health condition, a BCBSRI Care Coordinator can help. Your dedicated Care Coordinator is a health professional who will work with you to create a care plan and help you on the path to a healthier life. You can take advantage of our Care Coordination Program at no additional cost through your BCBSRI health plan.*
You can get in touch with a Care Coordinator by:
- Calling 1-844-563-0892
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stopping by a Your Blue StoreSM location in East Providence, Lincoln, or Warwick
*Care Coordination is not available for Plan 65 members.