Try taking a bite out of meal prep – A beginner’s guide

March 9, 2020

Try taking a bite out of meal prep – A beginner’s guide
To celebrate National Nutrition Month, Saint Peter’s outpatient nutritionist Laura Vetter, RDN, CDE, CSP, gives you her top tips to master meal prep for 21 days this March.
Take the focus off planning perfectly portioned meals all at once.  Instead focus on including more foods in your meals, so you can create a plan that is bit by bit, bite by bite, healthy and delicious.

1.Focus on one food group each week.
For the first week, select a vegetable to have every night at dinner as well as vegetables that can be packed with lunch every day. The next week focus on fruit, then move on to dairy, protein, and grains. When the focus is on the whole meal each day, it can become overwhelming. One change per week can lead to big successes.
2. Prep right when you get home from shopping.
This is a time-saver that works.  Purchase items that you are willing to slice, dice, and store when you get home. You will be more willing to reach for a handful of vegetables that are already prepped.
National Nutrition Month – 
3. Schedule snacks.
When you find yourself reaching for a treat, ask yourself “Am I hungry or is this a habit?” If you are truly hungry, eat food that will nourish you. If you like to snack while making dinner, make a colorful vegetable, fruit, and nut tray to puton  the counter. Nighttime snacking can be curbed by sipping on warm beverages. Since it takes time to sip, the urge to eat will usually pass.  
4. Pack lunch when plating dinner.
Instead of having a second portion at dinner, pack it for your lunch the next day. You will thank yourself that it is packed, and you will be more inclined to enjoy it instead of overeating.
Better for Life – Leftover Tip:
5. Freeze
Decrease food waste by freezing leftover items in freezer-safe containers. Use an ice cube tray to freeze fruit segments, fresh herbs, broth, and sauces. Use fruit cubes to flavor ice water and herbs to add to soups, stews, and sauces.
Registered dieticians offer outpatient nutrition counseling and education at Saint Peter’s University Hospital for children and adults. Patients seek our nutritionists for a variety of reasons, including help with food allergies, blood pressure and/or high cholesterol management, sports nutrition, and weight management. For more information, visit

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