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. 

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!