June 21


Simple Time Saving Meal Planning Tips

By Sue Ingebretson

June 21, 2011

beans, chicken, Fiber, kitchen tips, meal prep, protein, salmon, Veggies, whole grains


The goal with healthy eating is to make the preparation of foods as simple and practical as possible. Anything laborious or tedious might be tried once, but that’s about it. How many of you own a pasta maker gadget guaranteed to artfully craft handmade paper-thin pasta noodles? You likely used it once or twice and then forgot about it as it made its way toward the back of the cupboard.

This post promises to be gadget-free!

I heard a lecture from Dr. Joseph Mercola a couple of years ago and he said something that made everyone laugh. Thing is, it was more true than funny. He said, “Someone in your household – I don’t care who – had better start spending some time in the kitchen.”

You see, we live in a world of instant gratification: instant entertainment, instant communications, and instant foods. And … it shows! As a result of this instant world, we’re living with limitations on our relationships, our expectations, and on our own nourishment.

Because this post is about the healthy eating,

I’ll focus on how to remove these limitations from your kitchen!

Let’s start with veggies. Right as you come home from the store, prepare the amount of veggies you’d potentially use for the following three days or so. Wash and cut them up placing them in smaller storage containers in the fridge. When you have veggies already prepared and handy, you’ll naturally add them to more meals. Add nutrient-rich and fiber-filled chopped veggies to salads, soups, stews, eggs, smoothies, whole grains, healthy wraps, stir fry, and use them as main dishes. Take smaller portions of them with you as you go to work or run errands. Big surprise … when you have veggies on hand, you’ll eat them!

Another great staple in the kitchen is beans. It takes just as much time to prepare an entire package/bag of beans as it does a few servings. So, make up a larger batch (perhaps on a Sunday afternoon?), and you’ll have prepared beans to use for many, many other meals. Separate the cooked beans into larger containers to use for soups and stews, and smaller containers to be added in an instant to whatever meal you’re preparing. Experiment and find your favorite bean combinations. Cooked beans can be frozen for later use and make future meal preparations easy and simple. Add fiber and protein-rich cooked beans to salads, soups, stews, stir fry, whole grains, healthy wraps, and to use as main dishes. Additionally, cooked beans can be blended to make delicious and nutritious hummus varieties and spreads.

Prepare whole grains just as you would the beans. Make a pot-full of nutrient-dense and fiber-rich quinoa, millet, or amaranth and when cooled, divide into smaller containers for the fridge and/or freezer.

And then there’s cooked meats (for those who are so inclined). Using the same philosophy, it’s easy to see that preparing six chicken breasts or salmon filets is just as easy as preparing one or two. Prepare larger batches once in a while and divvy up the cooked meat into single servings or enough for a meal or two. Storing smaller servings in the freezer is a great way to make mealtime prep quick and easy. Take single servings to work for lunch or pull out a couple servings from the freezer in the morning to have ready for dinner later in the day.

At mealtimes, make your own favorite blends and combinations of fresh veggies, whole grains, beans, and/or meats. By using these simple hints, you can ensure you’re getting a great balance of nutrition. Soon, healthy eating will become a healthy habit. Add a simple fruit for dessert, if you like, and you’ve got a whole meal — ready in a snap!


  1. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for the geat tips for healthy eating and cooking. I saved it to my computer.


    1. Karen,

      Thanks for the comment and glad you found it beneficial! It’s EASY to implement healthier foods into your daily meals 😉

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