Meal Planning for Beginners
14 tips to help you stay on track with your nutrition goals, while saving time and money.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard! A little bit of meal prep can keep your nutrition goals on track, save you a lot of time during the week, AND save you money and calories that might otherwise have been spent on last-minute takeout orders.
Make your weekly meals organized, kidney-friendly, and satisfying with these simple tips from Somatus dietitians.
Check your schedule for the week. How many meals and snacks do you need to plan for? If some days are busier than others, plan for a night of leftovers that will make for an easy option.
Browse and select recipes before heading to the store. Ask your Somatus dietitian for some kidney-friendly recipes or hit up your favorite recipe sites. Pro tip: Check out our Somatus Kidney-Friendly Cookbook for inspiration!
Be realistic. Don’t take on too much! Think about what meals and snacks can be made using some of the same ingredients which will help save time and money.
See what you already have on hand. Check your fridge, freezer, and pantry before heading to the store. We all know that feeling when you buy a carton of eggs and get home just to find a fresh one waiting in the fridge!
Make an organized shopping list. Arrange your list by grocery-store departments for easier shopping: produce, fresh meat, dairy, pantry items, etc.
Keep it simple. Cooking at home doesn’t mean you have to make gourmet dinners every night (unless you want to, of course)! Choose a menu based on healthy items that require minimal ingredients and are easy to prep.
Go-go gadgets! The easier you make meal-prep, the more likely you are to stick with your plan. Take advantage of kitchen gadgets and appliances like a vegetable chopper, rice cooker, or air fryer.
Buy pre-chopped veggies/sides. Save on prep time by picking up pre-sliced veggies, pre-portioned meats, or prepared sides from the grocery’s deli or salad bar.
Don’t skip the freezer section. Try frozen vegetables in a steamer bag (with no salt added!) for a quick and healthy side option. Frozen fruits and veggies retain the same nutritional value as fresh and can last up to eight months.
Pick a prep day. Prepare and cook as many dishes as you can ahead of time to make your meals easy to throw together. Remember, you don’t have to shop AND cook on the same day if it feels like too much.
Prevent Food Waste
Check expiration dates. This way, you can prioritize what to eat first. Pro tip: Put perishable items that will go bad first near the front of the fridge, so you don’t forget to use them!
Keep things cold. Set your refrigerator to <40°F to prevent food spoilage.
Don’t skip the freezer section. Try frozen vegetables in a steamer bag (with no salt added) for a quick and healthy side option. Frozen fruits and veggies retain the same nutritional value as fresh and can last up to eight months.
Seal and save. Store washed, freshly cut produce in sealed containers to keep them fresh longer. With leftovers, label your containers with the date you cooked the food, so you know when it’s time to throw it out.
The information contained here is for educational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you read here.
Learn more about the Somatus healthy living program.
We’re here to answer your questions anytime.
Call us at (855) 851-8354 (TTY: 711).