Meal Planning at Christine’s House

Like many others, my routine is a bit upside down right now. I am working from home rather than making the trip to Iowa State’s campus each day. I am sticking close to home and avoiding unnecessary trips out of the house. My days look different, but I still want to make healthy choices and enjoy tasty food. I enjoy cooking and I am using this opportunity to do it a lot. For me, planning has helped me eat well and minimize trips out for groceries.

Because I am only cooking for myself, my planning is a bit different from Jody’s, Justine’s and Katy’s. I try to keep it flexible and focus on making good use of what I have. The strategy that works best for me is to keep a running list of what I have on hand from various food groups. From that list, I can spot what recipes I have ingredients to prepare. I can also compose meals by pulling items from different food groups and improvising a bit. The list also serves as a guide for me when it is time to shop. As I use the last of any food, I cross it off and I know I need to add it to my online grocery order. 

Take a look at the picture below for my current list. 

In addition to keeping this ‘foods on hand’ list, I am also trying to maintain some of the habits I had when I was leaving the house every day for work. For example, I keep a container of cut up vegetables in the refrigerator, so that they are easy to grab and throw into recipes or eat as a snack. I also use my water bottle that I used to take to work to keep up with drinking enough each day. 

What strategies work best for you with meal planning right now? Do you keep it flexible or prefer to have more details pinned down in advance? We would love to hear from you, so please share in the comments or on our social media. 


Take care!
Christine

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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4 thoughts on “Meal Planning at Christine’s House

  1. I prefer to have more details pinned down in advance. That way will help me keep on track. Over all, I am a very organized person, except when it comes to meal planning. I lost that gift somewhere along the way. I also only cook for myself and the tips you have provided will help me tremendously! Thank you so much Ms. Hradek!

  2. I like your strategy, this might work better for me. I teach EFNEP in NC and always looking for new ideas to help participants plan meals. Meal planning is difficult for many including me.
    Thanks

  3. Hi Carmel – Thanks for your comment, meal planning is a pretty personal thing and finding what works for you is the most important thing. Take care!

  4. Hi Rhonda – Meal planning is a habit that can be hard to set for yourself. I am glad we have been able to showcase a lot of different ways to approach it so that our readers can find what works best for them. Take care!

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