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Meal planning essentials with Susie Burrell

Why planning is key

It often surprises people that planning, not knowledge, is the key to dietary success. Many of us know what we should be eating, but it’s when we find ourselves out of routine, hungry and without nutritious options that we fall off the wagon. If your nutrition could do with a little more planning, here are five areas to focus on.

Start the week with your dinners planned

This could mean a Sunday cook-up to prep meals in advance, ordering meals online or completing your weekly grocery shop so you know what you’re cooking every night. Not having to plan meals from scratch each day saves time during the busy working week and keeps fast food and takeaway meals to a minimum.

Pack your lunch and snacks the night before

Who has time in the mornings to prepare multiple lunches and snacks? Preparing a healthy lunchbox the night before is a great way to use up dinner leftovers. It also means you can start your day knowing what you’ll eat and when. This allows you to stay in control of your overall nutritional intake and not be tempted by treats and higher calorie foods.

Shop online

If you visit the supermarket a few times a week, chances are you’re not only purchasing extra food you don’t need, you’re also wasting valuable time as you park, queue and unpack. Shopping online saves time and energy and also helps you plan meals in advance. Ordering a fruit and vegie box delivery each week is another good option as it ensures you have an array of healthy snack options on hand and fresh staples delivered to your front door.

Cook smart

In an ideal world we’d grow our own produce, shop locally and prepare heathy, home cooked meals each night. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles are not very conducive to this grassroots approach, with fewer people having time to cook a healthy meal every night. For this reason, finding efficient ways to prepare meals is the key to healthy eating success. One way is to prepare meals in bulk in advance so you cook just once or twice each week. A big cook-up of one or two larger meals, such as casseroles, stews, mince and soups, will provide two or three meals as well as lunches for the week, freeing up extra time on other evenings.

Keep a range of veg handy

Fresh, frozen and canned vegetables all play a critical role in meal planning. Canned goods bulk up soups and pies; frozen veg can be added to any dish to bulk it up or act as a side dish to proteins; and fresh vegies can be incorporated into meals and also frozen to prevent food waste. At the end of the week, any leftovers can be made into a hearty soup, frittata or bubble and squeak. 

Date modified: 6 June 2023
First published: Jan 2022


Shopping list saved to go to meal plans