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Meal Planning

Table of Contents


If you're like most people, evening meal prep is up there with doing laundry. Here's the secret to meal planning: plan just 3 to 5 meals ahead—it's less overwhelming. Your social plans can stay in place, and you can roll with whatever comes up. With prepped meals, you might have leftovers to freeze or save for the next week. Plus, you can keep your options open. These are all good ways to make healthy habits stick.

Here are five ways meal planning can change your life:

  1. Less stress.
  2. Save money.
  3. Save time.
  4. Healthier weight.
  5. Never having to ask, "What's for dinner?"

Your reasons are important

You have a reason why you want to plan your meals. Whether it's to save money, save time, or be healthier, keeping your reason top of mind keeps you inspired and motivated. List your reasons why you want to plan.

Add "spice" to your plan

Blogs, cookbooks, and online sources can help you add "spice" to your plans and discover new combos, hacks, and community. So grab something to sip on, listen to some good music, and start planning your most delicious meal ever.

Ready, Set…

What's in your plan? It's all up to you!

Here are some tips from those who have meal prep down to a science:

My Meals This Week

My Grocery List

Fruits and Vegetables

Pick dark leafy veggies when possible—they pack more nutrients. Try frozen veggies and fruit which can be just as healthy as fresh and last longer.


Enjoy whole-grain alternatives to breads and pastas—they leave you fuller for longer.


Try lean proteins like lentils, eggs, beans, tofu, chicken breasts, turkey, and salmon.


Look for low-fat or no-fat dairy items.

Oils and Seasonings

Choose heart-healthy oils like olive, canola, or avocado.

Canned Goods

Cut the salt—you can't taste it anyway—by trying low-sodium

Unsweetened Drinks

Try sparkling water and green or herbal teas.


Try nuts, trail mixes, whole-grain crackers, pretzels, or light popcorn.

My Week in Review

Credits for Meal Planning

Current as of: February 28, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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