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5 Tips for Meal Planning During a Pandemic

Meal planning has never been more essential than it has been over the last 9 months. It has saved us here in our household! As much as it’s essential, it may not be top of mind, leaving you scrambling at the last minute to get a warm meal on the table at the end of a busy day juggling work and family life. Planning your meals helps to ensure you have enough food on hand to feed the family AND assures you that you can use up the food you do have on hand, saving you money and preventing waste. 

Never done it before? That’s OK! Here are some of my top tips to get you started:

Cook once/eat twice

This doesn’t mean you have to eat the same meal twice though! With some thought and a little planning, you can get creative. For example, you can double the rice for your stir-fry one night and with the extra rice, prepare a pilaf the next day. Just add a can of beans and whatever veg you have in the fridge or freezer and voila! Dinner number two is served.

Batch cook

Make meals in bigger batches and freeze meal-size leftovers for easy weeknight meals or lunches. I like to batch cook chilli, soups, stir-fries, and spaghetti sauce.

Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy options 

Stock your pantry with canned beans to add to soups, salads or main dishes. I like to add chickpeas to salads and lentils to rice. Another staple in my cupboard is canned tuna for quick tuna salad sandwiches or to add to a salad. My freezer is stocked with bread, frozen fruit and veggies and frozen homemade meals galore (plus a few Costco pre-made essentials like pizza and lasagna).

Gather recipes

Place a folder in your kitchen or on your computer in an accessible spot. As you come across recipes you’d like to try, add them to your folder. Canada’s food guide has some great quick and easy recipes to help you make healthy and convenient weeknight meals.

Use time-saving kitchen tools

Make cooking at home easier (and quicker) by using these tools: 

  • Mini chopper for dicing foods like garlic and onion
  • Hand blender for soups and sauces
  • Slow cooker to do the cooking while you get stuff done
  • Pressure cooker to make meals in a hurry and with little effort 

    Stay healthy folks! Happy meal planning 😊

Jenn Giurgevich is a Registered Dietitian and former contract Professor at Brescia University College with a wealth of nutrition knowledge. Over the last 10+ years, Jenn has paired her love for nutrition and health with her undeniable love for fitness, working as both a personal trainer and fitness instructor.

 

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