Meal Planning for Busy Families

Meal prepping can help you save time, money, and calories.

Imagine opening your refrigerator on a busy worknight to find nutritious meals ready to enjoy as is or reheat and serve—no cooking from scratch required. By dedicating one day per week to meal planning and preparing as much as possible ahead of time, your family can enjoy healthy choices for several more days.

Meal prepping has been linked to better overall health. One recent study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity reviewed the meal-planning habits of more than 40,000 participants. Those who planned meals for the week to come showed lower obesity rates, greater variety in their diets, and better nutrition. To Heather Krieger, RD, CD, Clinical Dietitian at HSHS St. Joseph’s and Sacred Heart hospitals, these results make perfect sense.

“Planning and prepping ahead of time helps you control what goes into your meals,” she says. “You have the opportunity to read food labels and tweak recipes to make them healthier for your family.”

Many Benefits

Krieger recommends setting aside time each week to plan healthy meals that fit your family’s schedules and nutritional needs. Prepping can include cooking enough to have leftovers, assembling necessary ingredients, or washing and chopping servings of fruits and vegetables.

“Make prepping a family activity,” she says. “It’s a great time to teach kids about making healthy choices. If you have any questions, reach out to one of our dietitians. We’re happy to help.”

 Interested in nutrition and other health topics? Call 715.717.1600 to learn more about HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals’ 3D Community Health: Body.Mind.Spirit educational series.

You might also be interested in “Healthy Snacks Under $1.”