As part of National Nutrition Month, the 2020 Eat Right, Bite by Bite theme incorporates Cook & Prep and Meal Planning as important steps into helping us achieve optimal nutrition. With decreased grocery store visits and less supplies readily available, now is the perfect time to focus in on these key steps.

meal planning

Meal Planning:

Your meals may have recently changed for a variety of reasons; this could be lack of grocery supply, lack of money to buy food, lack of trips to the grocery store or an increase in the amount you need to cook. These all are great reasons that can provide the motivation to focus in on planning meals to ensure you are getting nutritious food.

 Planning is helpful in that:

  • Perishable food is used before it goes bad and this helps reduce food waste.
    • Pay special attention to dairy, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and meats
  • It can minimize unhealthy snacking as a scheduled plan helps provide structure for the day.
  • It opens an opportunity to involve others- this could include deciding the menu to assigning cooking and clean up tasks.
  • It saves time and the stress of deciding what to make.
  • Allows organization for others who may need to step in and help with meals.
  • It helps organize your grocery store trip so you know what you need and spend less time and money at the store.

Use the form below to help you plan your menu for the week. First, take a quick note of what perishable food you have on hand that should be used. Then, pick your entrée item, vegetable and/or fruit. You can note ingredients you may need to get and if you need to thaw food. You can also add in cooking and clean up responsibilities.

Cook & Prep:

You may have used the, “I don’t have time to” excuse. However, with restaurants having hours cut and you finding yourself at home more, this may be the time!

  Items to learn or teach:

  • Basic cooking and baking skills
    • Search online for links using keywords:  “skills every cook should know,” “cooking for beginners,” “cooking for kids,” etc.
  • Recipe substitutions: Be creative and find alternate ingredients that can be used.
  • How to divide a recipe in half and how to double it.
  • Simple kitchen tricks such as dicing peppers & onions and storing in the freezer to be used later.
  • Time saving kitchen tricks such as cooking extra-diced chicken that may be used for a salad today and then used for a soup or casserole tomorrow.

Regularly practicing Meal Planning and finding simple ways to help you Cook & Prep are important steps in helping you Eat Right, Bite by Bite!

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By Betsy Plotz

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