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Meal Prep Made Easy: Dietitian Tips for Planning and Preparing Healthy Meals in Advance

By Lesley Nickleson, RD, IFNCP

Whether you are juggling a hectic schedule, feeding a family, or simply looking to adopt

healthier eating habits, this guide is designed to empower you to take control of your meals and

embrace a healthier lifestyle. You will learn how a little planning can really go a long way.

I get it! As a busy single Mom of three, I always managed to prioritize healthy meals for my kids

who were raised on blueberries & broccoli. I am going to share my tips and tricks for meal

planning that worked wonders for me.

It started as a scrap piece of paper listing 1,2,3,4,5 and selecting 5 main dinner recipes for the

week. Pinterest was amazing for this. My mindset was cook once, eat twice whether that

meant freezing a meal for the next week or using leftovers. My method became more refined

over time.

Let me share a 7-step method that may help you.

Step One: Select 1-2 Breakfast Options: to include for the week.

Breakfast is one meal we tend to eat the same on a daily basis. Go for quality proteins, whole

grains & fresh fruits.

Nutritious & Delicious Breakfast options include:

● Super Food Instant Oatmeal's with berries + 2 tsp walnuts + hemp hearts (bonus add

protein powder)

● Scrambled Eggs + Greens + a bowl of berries (bonus add paprika & turmeric to eggs)

● Carbonaut toast with 1 tsp almond butter + 1 sliced banana + hemp seeds (bonus

sprinkle with Ceylon cinnamon)

● Smoothie or Kefir Bowls + Frozen Berries + Chia seeds

Step Two: Select 2-3 Lunch options: to include for the week.

Choose the same weekday lunch for Monday through Thursday (or try 2 options). Enjoy what I

call “free style Fridays” and plan for light lunches on weekends like cheese & cracker plates,

soups or salads or use up the weekday leftovers.

Nutritious & Delicious Lunch options include:

● Mega Salads with 2 cups greens + 1 cup chopped vegetables + 1⁄2 cup chopped fruit and

prepare a homemade vinaigrette (bonus add pumpkin seeds & turmeric to dressing)

● Whole grain wraps: 1 whole grain tortilla + 1 tbsp hummus + 4 oz protein (chicken) or 1⁄2

cup mashed beans + leafy greens + vegetables (cucumber, shredded carrot, tomato)

● Roasted Vegetable soups: roast a pan of vegetables + add to vegetable broth with

quality proteins (animal or plant-based) & immersion blend. Enjoy with whole grain

crackers & a side of hummus

● Grain Bowls: 1⁄2 cup quinoa + 1 cup lightly steamed or raw vegetables like greens,

peppers, avocado + 4 oz protein (chicken or chickpeas) + 1 tbsp tahini & freshly

squeezed lemon juice

Each of these options can be prepped on a Sunday for healthy eating all week long. For

example, on Sunday prep a super large Mega Salad to take with a side of whole grain crackers

& hummus. Next week prepare 3-4 wraps, roll in parchment paper for a grab-n-go lunch and

enjoy with a bowl of berries. Another week, try a batch of roasted vegetable soup or spring

ratatouille (Love Jamie Oliver’s recipe) for another grab & go option to enjoy with whole grain

crackers, a sprinkle of goat cheese and fresh fruit. For added convenience, treat yourself to a

few ceramic or glass food storage containers like oversize soup mugs or salad bowls with lids,

and a travel dressing container so you can portion your options ahead of time.

Step Three: Enjoy Free-Style Fridays

Let Friday be the day to free-style your meal options. Choose your favorite take out meal or

stick to your plan. Go for a morning Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich or egg-white bites,

choose a healthy lunch soup, salad or wrap option or have a take out pizza night and enjoy the

simplicity after a long work week.

Step Four: Write it Down, Plan it Out and Stick to It

Plan it out! Add everything you need to a grocery shopping list as you go. This will also help

you to save time having to figure out what to eat and save money on scrambling for options.

Step Five: Select 5- 6 Dinner Options:

Choose balanced nutrition for the week and plan according to your week’s schedule. Pick five

recipe types that you can use every week and adjust to the season. Plan one or two to cook

once, eat twice.

My simple & balanced dinner meal options

● Mondays: Simple & Easy

● Tuesdays: Sheet pan meal

● Wednesdays: Fun-Night

● Thursday: Plant-based meal

● Friday: FREE-STYLE take out

● Saturday: Grill Night

● Sunday: One-pot Wonder (use for Monday's lunch)

Plus, always have a quick & easy meal on hand in the freezer like frozen burger patties for quick

burgers (pop in toaster oven), pre-cooked grilled chicken strips & sweet potato fries, frozen

bean burritos or frozen pizzas.

Step Six: Prepping that Grocery List

Go through your meals and make a list of what you need to purchase. Be sure to plan for

leftovers for a few of the meals; cook once, eat twice. For example, if you make a pot of chili,

prepare a double batch and freeze half for a meal the next week or so.

To learn more, download our FREE 7 DAY MEAL PLANNER!

Complete with inspiring recipes & shopping list

Download PDF • 7.21MB



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