Diane May Nutrition Blog

How To Make Weekly Meals Easier

December 3rd, 2018

One of the most frustrating and daunting tasks is meal planning for the week, especially during the holiday season, when time is so precious.  Being prepared and finding quick and easy ways to get meals on the table can make life so much easier. Start with a shopping list that you pair with your weekly recipes. Find recipes that can be cooked in large batches such as chili, stew, sheet pan and crock pot meals.  It helps to have a master list when you go to the supermarket. Below is a basic template (try and by produce seasonally and utilize frozen fruits and vegetables):

  • Protein-Chicken, fish, turkey, reduced sodium deli meats, eggs, shellfish, beans, soy
  • Dairy-Low fat/non fat milk, cheese and greek yogurt-can also use plant based cheese, yogurt and milk
  • Vegetables-Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans, dark leafy greens, mushrooms, onions, garlic, peppers, potatoes, squashes, tomato, beets
  • Fruits-Apples, pears, berries, banana, grapes, citrus, melons
  • Grains-100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, low sugar/low sodium cereal, quinoa, bulgar, Farro, whole grain/bean pasta, popcorn
  • Condiments-Tomato sauce and paste, mustard, vinegars, olive oil, salsa, non fat cooking spray, herbs and seasoning

Once you have your basic list, you can add ingredients according to the recipes you plan for the week.  Collect recipes in a binder that you can go to for inspiration.  I recommend sites such as eatingwell.com, cookinglight.com and hungrygirl.com. One pot/sheet pan meals and crock pot meals take away a lot of prep and clean up, so they are great options when you are too busy to make a more involved recipe.  You can also cook in larger batches and freeze a portion of what you cook ahead.

  • When making sheet pan meals, find a large sheet pan.  Use hearty vegetables that can be roasted.  Make sure they are uniform in size and use proteins that are not tough (shanks, shoulders or ribs), try chicken breast, shrimp, tofu, and softer cuts of meat such as tenderloin. You can use any seasonings, but at the very least, toss with some oil, salt and pepper. Play around and find the mixes that work for you.
  • One pot meals need a little more prep and organization (but you will save on clean up). When possible, brown protein first, then add veggies and starch. Use high quality stock as a braising fluid. Try to use fresh herbs when possible.

Keep in  mind that you can prep up to five days in advance, but only three days can stay in the fridge and the rest should be put in the freezer. Pick a day to do your weekly food shopping and food prep.  It will save so much time and make your life easier, and you will have delicious and nutritious meals all week!

Rosemary Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

From: Diabetic Living Magazine

Chicken and sweet potatoes unite with the delicious taste of rosemary in this easy, one-skillet meal. Because we use par cooked and unseasoned sweet potatoes, the cooking time is much shorter—making this recipe perfect for weeknight cooking.

Ingredients     4 servings

  • 4 teaspoons canola or olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 20-ounce package refrigerated diced sweet potatoes, such as Simply Potatoes®
  • 2 (8 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, halved crosswise
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced


  •  Prep       20 m
  • Ready In    35 m
  1. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat 3 teaspoons of the oil over medium. Stir in garlic, ½ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the rosemary and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Add potatoes; toss to coat. Cook, covered, 5 minutes (do not stir).
  2. Push potatoes to one side of skillet. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to other side of skillet. Arrange chicken in skillet alongside potatoes. Cook, uncovered, 8 minutes.
  3. Stir potatoes and turn chicken. Sprinkle chicken with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Top with lemon slices. Cook, covered, 8 to 10 minutes more or until chicken is done (165°F) and potatoes are brown. (If needed, remove potatoes as they are done and continue cooking chicken


Nutrition information


  • Serving size: 1 chicken breast and about ⅔ cup potatoes
  • Per serving: 283 calories; 8 g fat(1 g sat); 5 g fiber; 27 g carbohydrates; 28 g protein; 83 mg cholesterol; 12 g sugars; 417 mg sodium;
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 3½ lean protein, 1½ starch