Experts offer meal planning help to get 2018 off to healthy start

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You can plan out a week's worth of meals that get you repurposing proteins and grains at least three times a week. (KABC)

At Bristol Farms, dietitian Lori Zanini and certified health coach Jackie Keller have great tips on saving time and money at the grocery store without giving up flavor or nutrition.

Both experts advise an increase in the amount of produce we eat, but Zanini suggests heading to the freezer.

"The frozen section is often times very overlooked. The fruit and the vegetables are actually frozen at the peak of ripeness so they lock in actually more nutrients than some of the fresh produce," said Zanini.

While many make the same five meals each week, Zanini offers ways to mix it up.

"Think of the theme of the meal rather than just a particular recipe because that way you can always interchange vegetables or proteins to make it a little more interesting," Zanini said.

She feels varying chopped vegetables might change up the meal without causing big challenges.

One of the best things to do before you head out is take a peek within your pantry, your fridge and your freezer to see what you already have.
Keller, who owns a food delivery service called "Nutrifit" says beyond that list, make a graph for smarter planning.

"I take it from a list to a chart. I'll draw seven lines down and five boxes across and make myself a grid," said Keller.

Drop in the main dishes and plan to repurpose proteins and even grains.

"So I know how many pounds of ground turkey i'm going to buy and how many different ways I can use it during the course of a week," said Keller.

Think ground turkey burgers, then meat loaf, then maybe later tacos.
Experts previously recommended you primarily shop the perimeter of the market for essential produce, meat and dairy, but Keller says it pays to go down some aisles. "That's where you're going to find dried beans, brown rice, whole grains," she said.

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