• sarasutherland


The best way to make sure you’ll eat healthy, home-cooked meals during the week is to plan them in advance.

We all know this, but many of us find ourselves looking at an empty fridge, overwhelmed at the thought of figuring out what to cook … Then giving up and ordering takeout.

The only way to avoid this is to plan your meals in advance. This sounds complicated and time-consuming, but the actual planning doesn’t have to take more than 20 minutes.

To start, sit down with two pieces of paper. On one piece of paper, write down the days of the week. This is where you’ll write each night’s dinner (and lunch and breakfast if necessary). The second piece of paper will be your shopping list.

Next, look at your calendar and write down events — like a late meeting or a kid’s soccer game — that will interfere with dinner preparation.

Now it’s time to start planning your meals. Pick meals that fit your schedule, and try to get a mix of vegetables and protein during the week. If you like following recipes, get out your cookbooks or look at your favorite websites.

You can collect recipes on your phone using a recipe management app. As you go through each recipe or meal, write down the ingredients you need on the shopping list. Think through every meal of the day. What do you need for snacks, lunches, and breakfast?

Once you’re done, take your shopping list to the grocery store. This task will be much easier when you have a list to guide you, and you won’t be tempted to throw in a bunch of unhealthy snacks “just in case.”

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