MEAL PLANNING DURING COVID-19 

April 10, 2020

A WAY TO HAVE SOME STRUCTURE IN THE WEEK & A ROUTINE THAT CAN FEEL LIKE HAVING A LITTLE PIECE OF NORMALCY. 

 

Meal planning does not have to be complicated.  Here’s how I approach it: it’s simply having a flexible plan for the week, a few recipes, and a grocery list.  There are some added challenges currently given our current physical distancing recommendations, but it is still possible. Here’s how: 

 

Start with the plan. This is typically a brainstorming session with the family/roommates to decide what nights are busier, like those with scheduled review sessions, or just days you know there’s a lot to juggle. This rough plan can help with decreasing the trips to the store to hopefully once every 10-14 days.  

 

Make your grocery list based off your recipes first and keep some shelf stable options on that list.  You can expand list to include any pantry essentials you are low on like oils or salt/spices. 

Below is a helpful template of how to plan out a week or two worth of grocery shopping.  Feel free to scale up the amounts of each category, these examples are based off of feeding 1-2 people: 

Categories of what to buy

EXAMPLE FOODS

5 snack options 

  • Crackers, peanut butter, yogurts, tortilla chips, trail mix

4 protein options (fresh or canned) and 4 carb options 

  • Chicken, whole eggs, canned beans, canned tuna 
  • Tortillas, bread, rice, boxed mac and cheese 

3 kinds fresh fruits/veggie 

  • 4 apples, 1 bunch of bananas, bag of baby carrots

3 kinds of frozen fruit/veggie

  • Bag of berries, corn, broccoli 

2-3 fun drinks 

  • Sparkling water, orange juice, unsweetened iced tea 

2 sauces and cheese 

  • Salsa, soy sauce
  • String cheese, shredded cheddar

2 frozen meals 

  • Pizza, frozen burritos 

 

Lunch/dinners could include:

  • Mac and cheese with frozen broccoli added
  • Black bean and cheese quesadilla with salad and a side of fruit 
  • Egg fried rice
    • Cooked rice + scrambled egg + broccoli + soy sauce 

 

Snacks could include:

  • Apples with peanut butter
  • String cheese and crackers
  • Yogurt topped with trail mix 

 

The idea of planning is to save you time and stress, so if you find certain aspects of this plan do not make your life easier, please modify!  Like most things in nutrition, there is no one-size fits all approach, you have to make it work for you and who you live with. 

You can also practice intuitive eating when choosing recipes or snacks, what sounds good and is available vs. what is “allowed”.  Having satisfying foods available helps us feel safe and taken care of.  Don’t worry about having some processed foods on the same plate as your fresh foods; the idea is to nourish regularly and try to listen to your body.  Balance is great but don’t let it overly stress you out, we’ve got enough of that right now. 

 

There are a lot of handouts on the CHS nutrition site - including a whole category on meal planning!

Be well Wildcats!