Meal Planning

It is Tuesday night; you had to work late and you just picked up the kids.  Everyone wants to eat in 5 minutes and you haven’t prepared anything for dinner.  Sound familiar? Planning your meals in advance can save time, money, energy and stress.  It also gives you more control over the nutritional content of your meals.  Here are a few tips to get you started.
1)   Look at a calendar and see what your week looks like. For example, if there are nights you will be home later than usual, plan something that can be cooked in advanced and simply reheated.
2)   Take a look in your pantry and refrigerator and plan meals around what you already have on hand.
3)   Write out your weekly meal plan and post it where you can easily see it.
4)   Use your time wisely. You might be able to prepare a few things the night before or in the morning before you leave for work.  Prepare a few dishes on the weekend and have them ready for busier nights later in the week.
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You can also try seasonal recipes from the Eurest cafes on the NIH campus.  This month Eurest has shared their favorite sweet potato recipes for you to try at home.  For individuals consuming a 2,000 calorie diet, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming about 5 ½ cups of red and orange vegetables each week.  Sweet potatoes, a popular orange vegetable, are a great source of vitamin A and also contain other important nutrients such as vitamin C and fiber.  
Food Shopping Tips
Make a shopping list based on your weekly meal plan and use the nutrition facts label on products to help guide your selections.
Healthy Eating on a Budget
Plan, Purchase and Prepare: reminders to stay within a budget
Daily Food Plan
Want to know the amount of each food group you need daily? Enter your information to receive a customized Daily Food Plan.
Menu Planning Tools
Find a menu planning tool or app to make planning meals easier. One example is the
It is an interactive tool to help with healthy meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping. The site features a searchable database of healthy recipes, options to build a cookbook, print recipe cards, and share recipes via social media. For menu ideas, you can look at these sample 2000 calorie menus from USDA
Healthy Eating Plan
A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. A healthy eating plan also will lower your risk for heart disease and other health conditions.