Food Shopping & Meal Planning (When Eating Out Isn’t an Option)

Welcome to the new normal of eating at home. All. The. Time. On one hand, it’s a great time to brush up on your cooking skills. But on the other, planning three meals a day for a full week (or more) can be challenging, especially if you’re feeding an entire family. (And let’s face it, even if you aren’t, being this organized is no easy feat.)

Here are some coach-approved tips and links to help you navigate eating healthfully in the time of COVID-19. 

What to buy 

For the pantry:

  • Jarred or canned tomato mixes and sauces
  • Canned and dried beans 
  • Broth and bouillon (as soup starter)
  • Canned protein: salmon, tuna, sardines, chicken
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Quinoa, brown and wild rice, whole grain cereals, oats or/and whole-grain high protein pasta
  • Nutrition bars (Check out this blog post with our favorites.)
  • Powdered bone broth
  • Canned coconut milk or cream
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Whole grain tortillas
  • Freeze-dried fruit and veggies

For the freezer:

  • Fruit: Berries, bananas (that got too ripe), cherries, peaches, mango, avocado 
  • Veggies: edamame, broccoli, spinach, green beans, mixed veggies, peas, corn
  • Whole grain bread and English muffins 
  • Ground turkey, lean beef, veggie burgers, lean sausages, frozen fish
  • Your favorites for mental wellness: love pizza, curry or dumplings? Have some in the freezer for a pick-me-up!

Need more ideas? Try this website.

How to plan your meals 

Once you’ve stocked up on healthy ingredients, the fun part begins! Here are eight easy meal-planning tips and tricks to help keep you organized and on track to make super nutritious dishes with what you have in the house, while limiting waste as much as possible. 

  1. Focus on simple recipes that you already know and love, but also be sure to work in some variety so you (and your loved ones) don’t get bored.

  2. Be disciplined about using perishables first. Keep a list on your fridge so you know what you have and cross the items off as you use them to prevent spoilage. Adding purchase dates next to the items can also help you prioritize.

  3. Freeze what you can for later in individual serving-sized portions. Meats, casseroles and soups are obvious freezer contenders, but you can also freeze leafy greens: put them in ziplock bags, squeeze out the air, and zip closed. (They take up very little freezer space this way.) You can even freeze shredded cheese. (Who knew?)

  4. Stick to a regular eating schedule to minimize the all-day graze. This makes your supplies last longer and can also help you stick to your healthy eating goals.

  5. To streamline things at meal time, consider prepping certain foods ahead of time, such as chopping raw veggies for salads and snacking and cooking several cups of rice (or other grains) to reheat throughout the day.

  6. Continue to do your best to practice “the plate method” for your meals: fill 1/2 your plate with veggies and fruits, 1/4 with lean protein and 1/4 with an optional complex carb.
  7. This website and the Allrecipes app let you enter the ingredients you have on hand and then they give you a list of recipes you can make with those ingredients. (We loooove this!)

  8. For quick and easy meal ideas, check out some of Coach Cassie’s favorites.
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