Meal Planning 101: Tips to Get Back to Routine

By Bridgette Clare, RHN on October 8, 2015 , categorized in In the Kitchen, Plant-based Nutrition

meal planning

You don’t have time to spend wishing the perfect dinner would magically appear or getting stuck at the grocery store STARVING at 6PM when all you want to do is be home. Meal planning helps take the guesswork out of what’s for dinner (not to mention breakfast, lunch and snacks).

Meal planning may seem rigid and time consuming at first, but doesn’t have to be. With these bite-sized steps you’ll quickly see that you can get your weekly meal planning done and dusted in one sitting.

Step 1: Fit It All In

Take a step back and look at your week ahead. You’re busy and you have a lot going on but you can fit it all in. If you have a lunchtime meeting on Tuesday and a big family dinner out on Friday, incorporate those into your plan.

Knowing what you’ve got going on will help you decide how much you need to prep for the week. Think big, double your portions for next day leftovers or and freeze the extra for quick meals when you’re in a pinch.

If you’re not sure where to start pick one of your favorite go-to recipes and build from there using recipes with similar ingredients.

Power bowls are my go-to for weeknights. They’re quick, versatile and include ingredients like rice, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower that can be used in so many other ways.  Use your favorite recipes and ingredients to your advantage. Use rice and fresh veggies in a handroll for lunch. Have chopped veggies like broccoli as a quick snack and use your cauliflower in Cauliflower Fried Rice.

Smoothies are made for mornings with frozen fruits that can also be used for desserts, muffins and sauces.

If you’re looking for recipe inspiration to help get you started look no further than the Vega Recipe Center.

Step 2: Cover Your (Ingredient) Bases

You’ve got your recipes, now it’s time to stock your pantry. Before you head out to the grocery store write down everything you need then stop right where you are, shop your kitchen then hit the grocery store for what you’re missing to fully stock your fridge, freezer and pantry.

Break down your list into categories (grocery, produce, refrigerated, frozen, spices, and bulk) to make shopping a breeze. Buy your kitchen staples like nuts and seeds in bulk so you have them on hand for future recipes and add a plant-based nutritional shake like Vega® Essentials to your list for a delicious way to add protein, veggies and greens, and more to smoothies.

Say goodbye to throwing out wilted spinach and going back to the store because you forgot almond milk (again!).  Knowing what you need before you walk into the store can reduce food waste by helping you avoid over buying produce you won’t use (FYI on average, food waste costs most people $370 every year)1There is a growing concern about food loss and waste throughout the United States. Consider that about 90 billion pounds of edible food goes uneaten each year. This costs most people about $370 each year. and can save you time by reducing your trips to the store.

Step 3: Prep It Like You Mean It 

Prep all of your ingredients and make any recipes you can ahead of time. Wash and chop all your fruits and veggies, batch cook your grains, freeze extra meal portions and pre-portion snacks.

If you have kids, get them involve d in this step. From watching you in the kitchen, to washing, portioning and chopping,  kitchen skills can be learned at any age.

Looking for a place to write your master plan down? We’ve got you covered with this free printable planner and grocery shopping list.

And that’s it. Your meal plan officially done and dusted.

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Bridgette Clare, RHN

A Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), Certified Raw Foods Chef and Vega Product Specialist, Bridgette Clare works at Vega as the Customer Experience Team Lead. Bridgette is passionate about making food fun and accessible. She believes what we eat has a huge impact on how we feel and whole heartedly supports a holistic approach to nutrition. Experimenting in the kitchen, sharing new recipes and enjoying new culinary experiences with friends is what she’s all about. Fun fact: Bridgette is always seeking out fun ways to stay active—trying out everything from circus school to testing out her indoor cycling teacher abilities!

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