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10 Tips for Better Meal Planning

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10 Tips for  Better Meal Planning

Healthy habits aren’t just about what you eat, but how you plan to eat. Here are 10 simple tips to help get you started.

It is well established that family meals prepared and consumed at home can improve eating habits. However, with our hectic schedules, sometimes meal and snack preparation can seem daunting, especially if we want to adopt a balanced way of eating. Good planning can help you overcome this obstacle. Here are 10 simple tips to help you succeed:

  1. Get family members to give ideas and pick their favourite meals to be included in meal planning. This will reduce repetition of meals, and it helps ensure everyone is eating meals they like.
  2. Check your meal plans to ensure you have included foods from each food group in Canada’s Food Guide.
  3. Make a shopping list to help you stay organized. Plan your weekly menu and jot down the ingredients you’ll need on the list so you make fewer trips to the grocery store. Make sure you include items you will need for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You may still need to shop more than once a week for fresh foods like milk, fish or meat.
  4. Watch for sales in weekly flyers, especially for non-perishable foods that you can stock up on and pull out of the pantry to make a variety of meals in a snap.
  5. Plan for leftovers. Save yourself time and energy by planning to eat leftovers a couple times a week. For example, save the leftovers from Sunday’s roast and use them in sandwiches the next day for lunch.
  6. Be inspired by the variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables and build your meals around these foods. Buying local, seasonal produce also helps save money.
  7. When you’re short on time, use prepared ingredients such as cut-up veggies, canned sauces or pre-washed lettuce to speed up meal preparation.
  8. Open up your cupboard and take an inventory of what you already have on hand. It’s amazing what you can whip together using some basic pantry staples like canned salmon or beans.
  9. When they aren’t in season, use frozen vegetables and fruit. They are just as nutritious as buying fresh. Don’t overlook beverages. Research suggests that poor beverage choices are getting in the way of good eating habits.
  10. Make sure you include a variety of healthy drinks in your menu planning such as water, milk, chocolate milk and 100% fruit juice.
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