National Nutrition Month Meal Prep


March is National Nutrition Month®; the month that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to make informed food choices, and develop sound eating and physical activity habits that they can follow all year long. This year a focus is planning ahead to have healthy family meals together whenever possible.

A great start to meal prepping includes:

  1. Have your family select recipes that they will help prepare for the week. Try to select recipes with seven or less ingredients each. It is best to prepare the menu before going grocery shopping.
  2. Make a grocery list. Stock the pantry with the ingredients needed to make meals at home. It helps to keep a grocery list throughout the week, so you can add items that you need to re-stock.
  3. Purchase staples such as oils, flour, dried herbs, and other non-perishables when they are on sale.
  4. Keep your pantry organized with the older products in front of newly bought products. This will help you to avoid wasting staples due to spoilage.

Meals can be made quicker by using pre-chopped fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Using pre-packaged mixes for soups, rice or noodles also cut down on prep time. Remember that some of the pre-packaged items are high in sodium, and the pre-chopped fruits and vegetables may cost more than doing the chopping yourself. You can save money by doing some chopping in advance; items such as onions, carrots, bell peppers, garlic, and celery can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge until they are needed.

After you plan the main item for the meal, complete the meal by adding canned, frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables or a salad. A dairy product like milk or a milk substitute, cheese or yogurt will help increase protein and calcium intake. It also helps to limit high calorie, low nutrient foods and drinks in meal planning.

Enjoy a new recipe! Invite family members to assist with preparing a new recipe to help save time, teach skills while enjoying time together.

This page was last modified on March 30, 2021


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