3 Ways to Establish Smart Meal-Planning Habits

Rather than approach meals on an as-needed basis, consider this: If you take the hurry and unpredictability out of meal preparation, you’ll be rewarded with a much more wholesome, nutritious, and flavorful meal.

Shop Better

Start by streamlining your shopping to just one or two days each week: Fewer trips to the supermarket meal fewer opportunities to buy more than your need, or the wrong types of food. Try to shop on the weekend or whenever you aren’t rushed for time (or hungry for dinner!). You’ll be more inclined to focus on what you are buying, and pay closer attention to nutritional information on the labels.

Whenever possible, shop at farmers’ markets or greenmarkets, or sign up for your local Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) plan. You’ll get the freshest seasonal produce- and discover new fruits and vegetables you like along the way!


It’s a good idea to plan your meals for the week, and to look for opportunities to make the most of the ingredients you have on hand, with the goal of not wasting anything. For example, if the salad you are making on Monday calls for half a bunch of scallions or basil, look for a soup or stir-fry to make later in the week that uses up the rest. Also, take inventory of your pantry at the beginning of each week and stock up on wholesome basics (including grains, legumes, onions, and other alliums) that serve as building blocks for healthy meals.

Cook once, eat twice

By all means take advantage of “big batch” cooking: Roasted vegetables can be incorporated into a salad, tossed with whole-grain pasta, or folded into omelets. Dried beans or legumes are always good make-ahead options (they can even be frozen in single servings), as are whole grains and breakfast favorites like granola and muesli.



Golden Rules for Clean Eating Series from A Clean Slate Book from the editors of Martha Stewart Living.