5 Meal Planning Tips For The New Year

5 Meal Planning Tips For The New Year

Meal planning doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. Follow these five tips to help you succeed with meal planning this year.

Start small and be consistent

  • Find a time to sit down and think through your week.
  • Plan meals around your schedule (kids sports, meetings, etc.)
  • Plan accordingly – crockpot meals, leftovers, quick meals.
  • Don’t plan a labor-intensive meal if you don’t have time.

Strive for balance

  • Plan meals that incorporate a variety of different nutrients and focus on creating a colorful plate.
  • Fruits/vegetables (1/2 plate) – choose greens, oranges, blues, reds, purples, and white varieties
  • Protein (1/4 plate) – choose lean or lower fat protein options such as fish, chicken, turkey, lean ground beef, eggs, or beans/lentils.
  • Grains (1/4 plate) – choose whole grains to increase fiber intake such as whole grain bread, brown rice, or quinoa.
  • Dairy – choose low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt products

Grocery shop or order online and do grocery pickup

  • Note what you have at home to avoid purchasing unnecessary ingredients
  • Keep a grocery list and jot down ingredients for weekly menus to avoid forgetting something


  • Plan meals around foods that are on sale by looking through store ads
    • Bell peppers on sale? Make fajitas, stuffed bell peppers, or stir fry. Chicken on sale? Make grilled chicken, chicken tacos, or white chicken chili.
  • Buy in bulk to save money and freeze the extras.

Write your menu down

  • Use paper, your phone, a whiteboard, or even a meal planning book to log your menu
  • Create a meal idea/recipe box and make notes to make meal planning easier in the future.
  • Plan a couple of weeks or even a month of meals and then rotate them.
  • Use them nights to help with the planning process. Monday – meatless meal, Tuesday – Mexican night, Wednesday – salad night, etc.




Michelle Graves, RD, LD, CHWC
Hancock Wellness Center – McCordsville


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