Meal Prepping and Planning Made Easy

Meal prepping and planning can seem overwhelming to the uninitiated, but it doesn’t have to be that way. On the latest edition of the Taste of Harmons Podcast, Harmons Dietitian Genevieve Daly joins our hosts Chef Lesli Sommerdorf and Brandon Young to discuss the ins and outs of easy meal prep and planning. 

The very first step to meal planning and prepping is to make a grocery shopping list. Start by checking your pantry and seeing what you already have. We’ve made stock up easy with our How to Stock Your Pantry blog, which includes a pantry shopping list for beginning, intermediate, and advanced cooks. Put together by our amazing dietitians and chefs, all the pantry essentials you will need to make meals are included. 


Genevieve emphasizes that making a meal plan is essential to keeping your prep efficient and easy. She also offers pros and cons to meal prep and planning, including the tip that shopping from a list saves you money. With a plan in place, you are less likely to impulse buy and spend extra money on items you don’t need.

She also shares tips about the items you need to have on hand to efficiently meal prep, and also talks about some of the ones you probably don’t need. One of her must-haves is a sharp chef’s knife. 

In the podcast there are three types of meal preppers explored, and you’ll need to listen to the podcast to discover which one you are—or the one you aspire to be.

Effectively meal planning and prepping insures you are less likely to binge or order takeout food, which is often higher in all the things you don’t need, and low on nutrients your body requires for fuel.

Eat a Balanced Meal with help from

Checkout the MyPlate graphic above and visit the website to learn more about healthy eating on a daily basis. Half of every plate you eat should be fruit and vegetables (mostly vegetables), and that’s an amount that’s easy to remember. 

One of the things Genevieve really dislikes is food waste, and she recommends finding ways to repurpose food. Dietitian Jonnell Masson has a great blog post on reducing food waste. Check it out for some great ideas that are easy to incorporate in our household. 

For more information on getting started with meal prep check out Genevieve’s blog post here. 

Dietitian Services

While things have been different in our stores, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our dietitians are still offering nutrition counseling services—virtually—and they are completely free!

They are also providing you with a month’s worth of weekday dinner meals for healthy living.

Click here to learn more about our dietitians and the services they offer. 

If you enjoyed this podcast, you’ll want to listen to our other episodes. You can find them here. Recent episodes include Eating for Exercise with our amazing dietitians, Sarah Kiel and Heather Lieber. Another must listen is A Passion for Pastries with guest Chef Adalberto Diaz, creator and co-owner of Fillings and Emulsions. 

Genevieve Daly

As a teenager, Dietitian Genevieve Daly began watching cooking shows which sparked an interest in food. She has since tried her hand at various ethnic dishes and has developed a love for trying new recipes to serve to her lucky friends and family. Learn more about Genevieve here. 

At Harmons, we are lucky to have incredibly talented artists at each store, and we’re sure you’ve seen their amazing chalk art as you wander throughout every location. We’re excited to be able to feature some of their work as the featured art on our podcast blog. This art is the work of David Costa, who works at our Brickyard Store. 

Healthy Living Meal Plan 1/18-1/22

Harmons team of registered dietitian nutritionists has curated recipes and meal ideas to delight your taste buds and support healthy living. Check back every week through February 22, 2021, for a new plan with fresh dinner inspiration.

Meatless Monday (1/18):  Edamame Fried Rice 

Using frozen edamame and veggies, this is a great go-to if you are cleaned out of fresh produce. This vegetarian protein powerhouse is crazy convenient, especially if you opt for microwaveable rice ready in just 90 seconds. Finishing with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil is the secret to that restaurant quality taste. 

Tuesday (1/19):  Chicken Fajitas 

Our meat department does all the heavy prep work for you! Purchase tortillas, avocado, and a side of fruit to complement this convenient entrée. Try nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a similar cool, creamy texture, a tangier flavor, and lower saturated fat content.  

Wednesday (1/20): Legume Pasta with Steamed Broccoli 

Legume pastas have become more and more popular on our shelves. Made with some sort of bean, pea, or lentil, these products contain 11-14 grams of protein per serving! Pair the Barilla chickpea pasta with Harmons steamable broccoli and your favorite Dietitians Choice pasta sauce or infused olive oil, and you have dinner on the table in just 15 minutes.

Thursday (1/21): Red Thai Curry with Chicken  

Store-bought curry paste is a single ingredient that adds a complexity of flavor. Curries are an easy base to add a variety of vegetables to, so pick your favorites and give them a simmer in this flavorful curry base.  

Friday (1/22):  Goat Cheese Veggie Pita Pizzas 

Whole wheat pitas make the perfect instant, individual pizza crust. A quick broil brings the crisp, then pile on your favorite combo of veggies and salty cheese, and you’ll have a drool-worthy pizza in no time at all.

Check out the other dietitians meal plans in this series.

Week One Meal Plan

Week Two Meal Plan

Week Three Meal Plan

Week Four Meal Plan

Week Five Meal Plan

Meal Planning and Prepping: Where to Begin

So…you’ve made the resolution to start eating healthier this year, again. You’ve decided you’re really serious this year, and are toying with the idea of meal planning to keep you on track. We all see posts online of people who are successful with meal planning, but what are the steps these professional meal planners took that have helped them get to this level of successful meal planning? Everyone has to start somewhere, so let’s dive into the basics of where to begin to get yourself on track to successful meal planning. 

First off, let’s differentiate meal planning from meal prepping. Although these two techniques are often used in conjunction, they’re very different and can help you choose what route you’d like to take on your meal planning journey.  

Meal Planning

Meal planning is focused on developing a system for your meals that week. This could be planning out a complete week of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, or it could focus on just one of those meals for the entire week. There are a few pros and cons related to meal planning: 


Grocery shopping is SO much easier

No more worrying about what you’re eating that day


Locks you into a schedule

Food waste could be an issue if you don’t stick to your plan

If you’re interested in meal planning, our team of dietitians just launched a meal planning series to help! Check it out on the blog. 

Meal Prepping


May save time on busy days

Meals will suit your tastes

Can make mornings less chaotic

Often saves money


Can reduce flexibility or become boring

May not want to spend spare time prepping

May need to invest in containers/storage

Making Meal Planning and Prepping a Successful Habit


Look for ingredients that are versatile

Make batch cooking a habit

Have backup plans. Frozen meals can really help keep you on track!


Make yourself inflexible

Cook things you don’t typically eat just because internet people told you to

Forget about MyPlate! Keep your meals balanced

If you’ve checked out our dietitian team’s weekly meal plan (week one and week two), you’ve probably noticed that our menus include a variety of meals and amount of preparation involved. One night can be a fully prepared meal that just need to be reheated, another night could include convenience items like a stir-fry blend from the produce department that just needs a protein and sauce, and other nights can be meals that you’ll prepare in your kitchen from scratch. The real trick with including a variety of meals is to prevent meal planning burnout (oh yes, that is a VERY real thing). If you’re cooking a new meal from scratch every night, you may find that it is too much of a time commitment. Make sure you’re realistic with the amount of time you’re able to commit to preparing meals for yourself and take that into consideration when creating your meal plan. 

If you’re interested in how to develop your own meal plan, check out dietitian Ashley’s blog on the Secrets to Family Meal Planning for some simple yet delicious meal combinations to get you started. If you ever need help or would like additional inspiration, please contact we’d love to hear from you!