Meal Planning 101

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Learn how to become a meal-planning pro with our best tips and ideas from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.
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5 Secrets to Getting Dinner on the Table No Matter How Busy You Are

Get out of your weeknight dinner rut with these essential meal-planning strategies from The Dinner Plan cookbook.


My family is busy. Really busy. And I bet you can relate. No two nights are the same: Ice hockey practice, choir rehearsals, board-of-ed meetings, a friend's birthday dinner, math tutor, guitar lessons, a dog that needs to go to the vet. It's a miracle that the kid doesn't end up getting checked for fleas while the dog strums "Blackbird." Add making dinner to the mix and you've got a recipe for extreme frustration.

30-Minute Dinner Solutions: The Ingredient Staples You Should Always Have on Hand

It's no surprise that making a healthy dinner is a whole lot easier when you have a plan in place. Taking the time over the weekend to take inventory of what you already have on hand, write out a menu and grocery shop can make dinnertime much easier. But the reality is, things don't always go as planned and some nights you're left standing in your kitchen at 5 o'clock scratching your head trying to figure out what to make. It's nights like these when you can rely on pantry staples to make healthy, affordable and fast dinners at home.

A Beginner's Guide to Meal Prep

If you're interested in less-hectic mealtimes, saving time in the kitchen or making healthier food choices—you need to try meal prepping. It ranges from simply preparing freezer smoothie packs for breakfast to cooking complete dinners for the upcoming week. Keep in mind, there is no one right way or method to meal prep—it's about what works best for you. And you don't need to spend your entire Sunday in the kitchen to get it done. Even spending as little as 30 minutes planning and prepping meals will make it easier to eat well during the week.

The Only Formula You Need to Make Mouthwatering Healthy Buddha Bowls

Pictured recipe: Green Goddess Buddha Bowl

Buddha bowls are one of the year's most popular meals—and for good reason! They're healthy, affordable and easy to make. But what exactly is a Buddha bowl anyway? Each bowl is made up of 5 key components:

• Whole grains
• Veggies
• Protein
• Dressing
• "Sprinkles," such as nuts, seeds, herbs or sprouts

The Best Meal-Prep Containers for Work Lunches

Making lunch and getting out the door at a semi-reasonable time is hard enough without struggling to find matching Tupperware to pack it in. So, instead of wasting one more second searching for a lid that fits, stock up on these totable (and cute) meal-prep containers to make portion control and transporting your lunch to work a breeze.

The Best Bento Box Lunches: 10 Healthy Sandwich-Free Lunch Ideas for Kids and Adults

If the same old sandwich lunches feel a little stale, it's time to skip the classic standby and upgrade to the best bento box lunch. Bento box lunches contain a wide variety of foods in artful, cute arrangements—plus, the reusable compartments of a bento box help control portion sizes and let you skip all the plastic baggies.

Related: The Only Formula You Need to Pack a Healthy Bento Box

The Only Formula You Need to Pack Cheap Healthy Lunches for Work

Bento lunch boxes have always been my go-to method for packing lunches for my girls. And lately I've been using the bento method to pack healthy lunches for work too. Not only are they quick, but bento lunches have also helped to streamline my meal-prep process—something I'll take more of any morning! The dietitian side of me also loves that the packing process helps me ensure that the lunches include options from several food groups. Another plus: packing bento boxes for my husband and myself is cheaper than eating lunch out every day.