Cooks Corner: 5 Tips to Make Meal Planning Work for You

The best intentions to eat well won’t matter if you don’t have a strategy in place to help you reach your goals. You already make a commitment to cook, or at least to eat, and unless you frequently eat out, you need to put good food on the table. Grilling a piece of fish, steaming vegetables, preparing a salad in ten minutes, making a simple pasta dish or creamy soup, are just a few meal ideas in which the ingredients, flavours, and timing, are entirely up to you. “Convenience” foods may take just as long to get to the table as your good home cooking, but with cooking, you know what you are eating and you know what it will taste like. That’s part of the fun and pleasure of prepping and cooking your own food. It’s a real experience. So turn up your favourite tunes, catch up on a podcast or your TV shows (with a glass of wine on standby of course), unpack your groceries and make meal planning a priority.

Tip #1 Schedule time each week to grocery shop!

Of all the things in life that are beyond our control, your diet should not be one of them. Meal planning is a nutritional tool you can use to support your health. Write a grocery list and make an action plan to dedicate a specific day and time each week to purchase, and prepare ingredients. This is especially important if you follow a strict vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or any “good nutrition” diet. Grocery shop on a day that you are less busy to help reduce any stress or anxiety.

Tip #2 Prepare ingredients immediately. Time is a precious commodity. There are few better ways to spend it than by preparing high-quality food for yourself and those you love,  but the time it takes to fix many meals is mostly spent prepping, not cooking. Wash and chop ingredients in bulk and slice vegetables for recipes in the upcoming week. Enlist the help of family and friends, or get the kids involved. This completes the job faster and makes it more enjoyable.

Tip #3 Cook in advance. It’s easy to have the makings of a meal or two on hand by maintaining the right mix of staples. Prepare some dishes in advance to relieve any pressure of cooking during the busy week. Batch-cook recipes that you love. Freeze extra portions for later.

Tip #4 Make meal prepping fun and pleasurable! Enlist the help of family and friends, or get the kids involved. This completes the job faster and makes it more enjoyable. Prepping and cooking doesn’t have to be boring. Have your favourite tunes on your playlist ready, catch up on TV shows, listen to a podcast, or catch up with a friend on speakerphone.

Tip #5 Don’t give up. If you’re not used to cooking, meal planning may seem tedious or even difficult at first. The cooking improves with practice. Meal planning teaches you organizational, culinary, and budgeting skills that are invaluable to a healthy diet. You will get into a groove, becoming faster and more efficient.

See: Cooking Green Goodness for recipes and meal ideas.

10 thoughts on “Cooks Corner: 5 Tips to Make Meal Planning Work for You

  1. Pingback: Cooks Corner: Keen-what? Quinoa – @EarthaCooks

  2. I’m going to bookmark this because I DO like to cook and eat delicious and healthy food but sometimes I feel that I spend too much time visiting the market to buy fresh produce each week. All the shopping, washing, chopping, grinding, marinating, slicing and dicing that is part of meal preparations can sometimes be a drag if I’m in the zone with research and writing and don’t want to find myself eating at strange hours of the day and night!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Leslie! I relate that all that preparation can seem like a drag but you do this to be able to “cook and eat delicious and healthy food” which is the end result of what you want to to achive. We have to take control, and feel empowered to make choices to fuel and enhance a healthy lifestyle.
      I’m big on cooking in advance. I shop close to the end of the week and make early Saturday mornings a main event. I like to wake up super early, as early as 5am sometimes, to roast chicken, bake fish, cooks soup, cook meatballs, cook rice and peas. By 10am I’m done and can breathe a little easier for the next few days! The chicken is carved up during the week to make quick salads. Boiling pasta’s quick and easy to serve with the meatballs. The kids also bring these foods for lunch. During the week it’s easy enough to steam greens, roast veggies and blend natural juices. From my experience, the more you cook and meal plan, the more you learn how to whip up quick delicious meals in no time.
      Thanks for sharing. 🙂


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