7 Dietitian Hacks for a Healthy Meal Plan

These moms—who just so happen to also be dietitians—shared their best hacks so healthy meal planning feels like a breeze. 

By Elizabeth Shaw MS, RDN, CLT

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Love Your Leftovers

“We make sure to have extra food at dinner so that there are leftovers ready for the following day’s lunch. During cleanup we put the leftover food into individual containers and then they go right into the lunch bags/boxes. This way, lunch is packed and ready to roll the next morning. Easy breezy.” —Sarah Koszyk, M.A., R.D.N., sports dietitian, weight management specialist, and founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. 

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Think Inside the Fridge

“As with all meal planning, a great way to plan what you pack for work or school lunch is to take stock of the ingredients you have on hand in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. This helps avoid food going to waste and sometimes leads to some delicious flavor combinations you may not have previously thought of, like this Salmon Peach Quinoa Salad.” —Jessica Fishman Levinson, M.S., R.D., founder of Nutritioulicious

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Batch Cook

“Batch cooking is the best! Not only can you save time and money, but you’ll also have meals in minutes that can easily be defrosted for a quick dinner or fast lunch. I even make Freezer Waffles so I can toast them and spread on a little peanut butter for an easy on-the-go breakfast” —Sara Haas, R.D., certified chef, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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Stock the Office

“With two little ones, I don’t have time to make lunch daily. Instead, I pack my office weekly with my high-fiber wraps, low-sodium deli meats, and shredded lettuce, then when I make them I add either low-sugar mustard, ketchup, or a vinaigrette to spice things up.” —Shelly Marie Redmond, M.S., R.D., culinary dietitian and founder of Skinny Louisiana

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Cans Get You Cooking

Invest in Canned Goods

There’s no need to order in anymore—simply open up your pantry and whip up this Chicken Burrito Salad. It’s perfect for the kids’ lunch or a quick office brown bag. As a proud partner with Cans Get You Cooking, I love to whip up these treats to show my family how cans seal in foods’ nutrition, freshness, and flavor (just keep an eye on that nutrition label to help you make smart choices). Bonus: These quick meals are budget-friendly and have a no-fuss cleanup.

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Holley Grainger, MS, RD

Make Food Fun

“When it comes to lunchbox ideas, I share my #healthylittlelunchbox ideas daily on Instagram. Packing practical, doable, time-saving lunches is important to me because families are so often in a rush while trying to get out the door. As a proud partner with Babybel, I like to send Mini Babybel Cheese with mini bell peppers as a wholesome (and delicious) portable snack. Otherwise, I try to make classic snacks fun, like I did with these BLT Skewers. With just a little effort, lunchbox packing be a fun family event and feel like less of a chore.” —Holley Grainger, M.S., R.D., lifestyle and culinary nutrition expert

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Shaw’s Simple Swaps

Focus on Fiber

The key to healthy eating, in my opinion, is primarily based around fiber. It’s found in all of those good-for-you foods—whole grains, fruits, vegetables—and fills you up without filling you out, making it the perfect option for a healthy lifestyle. Try these recipes featuring high-fiber foods to get started. 

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