Easy Meal Planning Tips for Healthy Eating

Healthy eating can seem daunting at first because it virtually eliminates the option of convenient, processed foods. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. It simply involves a little planning and preparation. Here are some tips to make meal planning easy and stress-free.

If you need help implementing a healthy diet, click here

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Whether you’re trying to lose weight, heal your gut, balance hormones, or just get healthy, dietary changes are usually a fundamental component. Regardless of what type of healthy eating protocol you decide to implement, switching to a whole foods plan requires planning and preparation. Otherwise, it becomes stressful.

You can be given a list of foods to eat, but unless you have a plan for preparing these foods, it’s likely not going to happen. This is where people get stuck, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Preparation and planning are essential for implementing and maintaining a health diet and lifestyle. When do you usually decide what you and your family are having for dinner? Do you know at the beginning of the week or 30 minutes before mealtime? 6pm is the worst time to figure out what’s for dinner. Having a plan in place will set you up for success.

Wouldn’t you rather take a couple of hours one day a week to plan and prepare your meals for the week, rather than stressing out before each meal?

Not only does meal planning reduce stress and ensure compliance, but it also allows you to get creative. Healthy meals don’t have to be boring! You can still have variety and flavor. Planning ahead gives you the chance to find new recipes and try new ingredients. Planning in advance allows you to be creative and figure out different ways to eat food.

For example, you could make a gluten-free, dairy-free pesto sauce, and use it with fish one night and use the remainder with chicken another night. Or you could make pork tenderloin and serve it with roasted veggies one night, and then make pork tacos in lettuce wraps another night.

You’ve literally cooked once and made two very different meals.

Meal planning can also help with quality family time. If you already have the plan in place, then you don’t have the stress and rush at 5pm trying to figure out what to eat. This allows you to go into the meal much more relaxed, engage in conversation, and enjoy the mealtime.

A common question is how to handle picky eaters. One suggestion is to figure out different preparation methods where your kids like the particular vegetable you’re serving. You may have a kid who doesn’t like broccoli, but you find he likes it when it’s dipped in homemade ranch dressing.

Letting kids get involved with picking out the fruits and veggies used for the meals is another way to encourage your picky eaters. Finally, don’t assume your kids won’t like a particular food. Let you kids experience and enjoy different foods.

Here are a few tips and tricks for meal planning to set you up for success:

  1. Shopping list – organize your grocery list according to the store layout (meat, dairy, produce, oils, etc.) That way you’re not running all over the store.
  2. Grocery delivery – this is available in most major cities and is a huge time saver for the busy mom or busy professional. Some services include Instacart, Whole Foods, Hello Envoy, and Amazon.
  3. Chop all of your vegetables in advance.
  4. Make your sauces and marinades in advance.
  5. Use crockpot recipes.
  6. Plan your breakfast.
  7. Cook once and eat 2-3 times.

If you’re interested in learning more about meal planning, listen to our podcast with Allison Schaaf, professional chef and nutritionist.


If you need help implementing a healthy diet, click here

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Dr. Ruscio is your leading functional and integrative doctor specializing in gut related disorders such as SIBO, leaky gut, Celiac, IBS and in thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid and hyperthyroid. For more information on how to become a patient, please contact our office. Serving the San Francisco bay area.  

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I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!

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