By EatingWell Editors
Even if it sounds tedious, it pays to sit down once a week to make a menu for the coming days. Not only will you avoid stress by knowing what’s for dinner each night, but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing your meals will be tasty and healthy. Here are our top 8 meal-planning tips:
1. Bookmark any recipes you plan to use and put them in a visible place.
2. Vary your menu each week by making a few favorite dishes that you’re comfortable with and a few that are new.
3. If you want leftovers, plan that into your menu. Roasting a chicken? Pop in a second one for sandwiches and salads. Make a double batch of soup or your favorite pasta sauce and freeze half.
4. Plan your menu around quick-cooking cuts of meat and poultry like cutlets, chops and fillets.
5. Precut fruits and vegetables are great for stir-fries, quick side dishes and desserts. Though they can be a bit more expensive, they are a time saver when you want to get dinner on the table fast.
6. Choose convenience products wisely: take a moment to read labels for calories, fats, fiber and sodium.
7. Embrace frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruit is great for making quick morning smoothies and fruit crisps for dessert, while frozen vegetables can be cooked up for side dishes or thrown into pasta.
8. Be flexible—if the green beans at the store look withered, buy that beautiful broccoli instead!