Ride Your Holiday Planning and List-Making Wave Right into the New Year
Many of us likely made multiple lists this past month. Planning what gifts we need to buy and for whom; what activities we need to be at, people who we need to send Christmas cards to and grocery lists for what we’re going to buy and cook for holiday gatherings. For some reason, making lists and plans for big events like Thanksgiving and Christmas is easy. Because we want to make sure we have what we need, we want to stay within and budget, and we don’t want to be stressed. For some reason, come January, that planning, specifically with meals and groceries, goes to the wayside.
Meal planning is associated with a healthier diet, less obesity and overall food variety. If things like cooking don’t go naturally for you, having a weekly meal plan will make it easier. At the end of the day, when you’re in a bit of a fog, preparing dinner is the last thing you have energy for. Instead, already having the ingredients at the ready, or perhaps something sitting in the slow cooker once you arrive home, will keep you on a healthy track and limit trips through the drive through and spontaneous unhealthy meal purchases.
Make meal planning something relaxing that you look forward to each week, that way it’s more likely something you look forward to, rather than something you dread. You can do it over a coffee, with a partner or with room mates. Gather any recipe books you have, or go online and find some. The library is full of recipe books as well. At first start with meals that you are comfortable with, and start to add in one or two that are new or use new ingredients that you might not be familiar with. You will slowly build your cooking repertoire. Before you start choosing your meals, do an inventory of your pantry. If you do well with details you can even note the specific page that the recipe is on so you can flip to it quickly on the night you’re going to do it. Meal planning also prevents you from overspending and impulse purchases since you will have a list to focus your shopping. Alternatively you can meal plan for the week and do all the preparation one day and freeze or cool the meals so that you simply have to heat something up or add fresh produce to. A little planning will go a long way. Use your Christmas planning mastery and transfer your skills into meal prep to make 2018 your healthiest year yet.
Tips for making Meal Plans a Success
- eat with the seasons. Incorporate
- inventory your pantry first
- make a list for groceries
- plan for one or two slow cooker meals a week
- make a double batch of one meal and and freeze half for a busy week
- try to make one new recipe every other week to increase your cooking repertoire and confidence
Michelle Kolobutin is the Community Nutrition Worker at NorWest Community Health Centres. For more information about meal planning, cooking demonstrations, healthy meal guides, check out the various programs offered at www.
Feel Better, Live Longer, Be Happier