Meal Plan Like A Dietitian
By: Shaylyn Tinari, MS, RD, LDN
Meal planning may seem like a daunting task. What do I eat? How much do I eat? When do I prep? How
much should I prep?
First step, take a deep breath. Meal planning does not have to be difficult. As a
food and nutrition expert, meal planning has become a habit for me, but it wasn’t always that way. As
with any new change in your life, it takes time. You may meal plan one week, and fall off the next. It
happens. Believe it or not, establishing a new habit can take up to a year. Luckily, you now have a step
by step guide to help you when you’re ready to get back into it!
1. Have a plan. Jill Weisenberger states in her book, Prediabetes: A Complete Guide, “Success
starts with intention, so avoid the temptation to simply wing it.” Some things to brainstorm and
write down: how often will you go grocery shopping, number of people you will meal plan for,
how many meals per day, whether you’ll want to make bulk meals for leftovers, and what your
budget is for the week are some ideas of where to start.
2. Write out your meals for the week. Again, it’s all about having a plan. List 1-2 options for
breakfast, 1-2 options for lunch, and 3-6 options for dinner. Everyone is different when it comes
to meal planning for dinners. Step 1 will help you decide if you need closer to 3 options or 6 for
dinners. When writing out your meals use Yummy Body Nutrition’s approach: have half your
plate come from fiber, ¼ from lean protein, and ¼ from healthy fat.
3. Look in your own kitchen. Take note of items in your refrigerator, pantry, and freezer to avoid
spending money on items you already have and to avoid food waste.
4. Make a grocery list. Now that you have your meals listed you can do 1 of 2 things. Take the list
to the store and use that list to purchase items. The other option is to organize your meals into
a list based on the layout of the grocery store. The latter is useful for when you are familiar with
the grocery store so you don’t find yourself going back and forth into the same aisle.
5. Stock up on freezer items. Always have at least a bag of frozen fruit and a few bags of frozen
vegetables in your freezer. When you run out of fresh produce you have backup!
6. Stock up on pantry items. Beans, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, Banza pasta are shelf-stable
food products. Think ahead – whenever you make quinoa, brown rice, or Banza pasta – make
more than you need so you can have leftovers for the week. The key is to make it easy for
yourself while eating healthy!
7. Think positive! Similar to exercise, people feel like “they should be meal planning”. Change the
“I should be” to “I choose to”. When you choose to do something, you are in control. Who
doesn’t want to feel in control?
Think back to why you choose to meal plan in the first place and remind yourself of all of the benefits you would receive from it.
Sometimes even a step by step guide like this can seem challenging. Want help? Contact
Yummy Body Nutrition dietitian’s – we are happy to help set up a plan with you!