Meal Planning for the Working Mom or Dad
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Global Calgary Healthy eating habits for time-crunched parents 


Watch nutritionist Andrea Holwegner discuss meal planning on Global Calgary TV: 


Why is meal planning time well spent? 

Meal planning can: 

  • Keep your budget in check 
  • Optimize your heath 
  • Reduce food waste 
  • Eliminate meal time stress 
  • Minimize time spent thinking about what to have for dinner 


How can I make meal planning faster and easier?

Once per week on your lunch hour or in the evening plan the week.  Think of meal planning in 3 steps:

1. Book it!

  • Book a date with the grocery store.
  • Pick one day a week & schedule an appointment to grocery shop.
  • Your grocery date should be considered equally as important as a family member’s birthday!
  • Don’t have time to shop? Consider a grocery delivery service which is now being offered by many local stores.

2. Map it!

Using a calendar, journal or computer template, assign each day of the week with the following labels based on the time you have in your schedule:

  • Global TV spot Aug 15, 2016

    Fast & fresh: Fresh, single meals that can be prepared cooked & assembled in 20-30 minutes.

  • Slow: A fresh, single meal that will take 1 hour or so to prepare & cook. For when you have more time & can make a more involved meal.
  • Big batch: Fresh meals that can be made in large volumes, frozen & eaten again later.
  • Repurposed: Cook once, eat twice. Use leftovers or meals using “planned extras” (cooking extras of one part of the meal to use in a new way the next day).
    • Make extra grilled/roast meat. Use for wraps or salad the next day.
    • Roast a whole chicken. Use extras in casseroles or chicken salad.
    • Roast extra vegetables. Add to wraps, scrambled eggs or soups.
    • Cook a double batch of rice or quinoa. Freeze in individual or family-sized portions.
  • Out: Planned meals where you don’t have to cook. It may be take-out, a meal at a restaurant or a meal at someone’s home.

3. Save it!

  • Create a re-usable grocery list of staple & fresh foods.
  • Design your list so that it can be easily navigated in the grocery store you usually go to.
  • If you are tech-savvy, you can also download a grocery list app.
  • Compile all your meal plans & favourite recipes in a binder, computer folder or app to reuse in a crunch.  
  • Try the OrganizEat recipe storing app for free (my personal favorite as a time crunched mom since I don’t have to type recipes to store them – I can simply snap a photo and store). 

What if I am still struggling to get organized with meal planning?

If the 3 step meal planning system is not a good fit for you and seems overwhelming don’t worry! Start small.  ANY amount of planning will help.  

Clients in our practice that commit to a weekly grocery shop and answer the question “what is for supper tomorrow?” before going to bed are well positioned for success.  

Some of our clients also find it helpful to only think about planning 3 meals for the week ahead and leave the others ones more spontaneous or for use of leftovers and planned extras.  

What are some healthy convenience food options?

Healthy convenience foods

  • Pre-cut fresh or frozen vegetables & fruit
  • Packaged salad or coleslaw mix
  • Canned diced tomatoes & legumes (lentils, chickpeas & beans)
  • Shredded or pre-sliced cheese (can also be frozen)
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Freeze individual portions of chicken breasts/thighs & fish fillets
  • Freeze lean ground meatballs
  • Veggie burgers, non-breaded turkey or chicken burgers, lean beef or bison burgers
  • Pre-sliced meat (stir-fry & stewing)
  • Canned fish (tuna, sardines & salmon)
  • Frozen, peeled shrimp & other seafood
  • Eggs
  • Frozen edamame beans
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Whole grain pizza crusts or ready-made dough (can be frozen)
  • Fresh or frozen whole wheat tortellini

Book a nutrition counselling program with Health Stand Nutrition, and we can help with meal planning! Also check out our free bi-monthly newsletter for the latest articles, recipes, videos and tips on healthy eating.


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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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