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New Year, Fresh Start

Fresh Start This Way sign with an arrow pointing in the right direction, on a cork board.

New Year, Fresh Start

This time of year can have lots of ups and downs; to help combat the new year rollercoaster ride, set yourself up for success by focusing on the doable. This time of year, there can be a lot of things we want to accomplish that compete for our time: relaxing, time with loved ones, our ever-expanding to-do lists, etc. In order to not get overwhelmed, break down tasks into smaller, simpler pieces, including meal planning. My passion is sharing approaches to meal planning to help make healthy eating happen no matter the time of year.

New Year Fresh Start text on a notepad next to a cup of coffee

The beginning of the year is a built-in framework to reflect on our systems and habits. You can start by evaluating food planning strategies you’ve used in the past. Give yourself permission to let go of past strategies that haven’t worked for you. This could be due to many factors, as circumstances change over time. Strategies that didn’t work before might be helpful now and vice versa; something that worked really well for you before might not be as relevant now. You can also challenge yourself by reflecting on the approaches that have proven to be successful for you previously.

So, what is meal planning anyway? Definitions of meal planning are interpreted in different ways but, at its core, it is the intentional act of planning meals in the future. Just like definitions may vary, the way individuals carry this out will look different. As a replacement to dieting, Quick & Delish is an online meal planning program I created with the intention to teach nutrition and simple steps to think ahead about food and meals. To me, the heart of meal planning includes actions to make healthy eating happen that build on your existing systems and habits.

Healthy fruits & veggies with a weekly meal plan on a wooden background.

To dive deeper into meal planning, there are 3 main pillars:

  1. Start from, and build upon, what you already know
  • Start with learning how to cook the things you already enjoy eating
  • Build a robust pantry so that grocery shopping doesn’t have to be a daunting task
  1. Planning and time management
  • Schedule 10 minutes a week to strategize meal planning
  • Be decisive about when you will go grocery shopping and go through the refrigerator to identify use-first items
  • Planning meals is helpful for reducing food waste and saving money
  • Cooking every meal from scratch every day is not realistic all the time and can lead to burnout. Use modern conveniences to your advantage: pre-cooked grains and beans, frozen veggies, rotisserie chicken, or bone broth and batch cooking
    • Kitchen tools that can help save time include the instant pot, crockpot, food chopper, etc.
  1. Ensure variety 
  • With various flavors, textures, colors, and diversity of ingredients 
  • Strategize when to have certain foods so you’re not eating the same things all the time
  • Creating an interesting meal will leave you more satisfied 

Life is full of the unexpected! Having a plan for eating decreases the number of decisions that need to be made during busy times or times with more stress. Even choosing 1-2 doable ideas from above to implement into your meal planning routine can make a big impact. You are worth the time investment.

To learn about creating your own simple, healthy meal planning system and getting support to meet your health goals, schedule a free one-on-one Nutrition for Wellness Strategy Session with me! 

To receive meal planning tips, recipe ideas, and to learn about meal planning events, join my email list.

Cheers to your health, Alicia

By Alicia Connor, MA / Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Chef

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Author Bio:

Alicia Connor a pretty brunette with dark wavy shoulder-length hair wearing a denim jacket as she leans on a kitchen counter with assorted veggies in front of her.
Alicia Connor

Alicia Connor is a registered dietitian nutritionist and chef who is passionate about encouraging lifestyle shifts with a focus on meal planning and simplifying healthy eating. Alicia built a career as a chef, including working at a top San Francisco restaurant. As a young adult facing hereditary vision loss, she took control and pivoted to another career as a dietitian to grow roots deeper than ‘just cooking.’ She has seen the impact of meal planning and nutrition in her clients over the years, often through their increased energy, empowered weight loss journeys, and freedom to pursue more of their passions due to increased confidence.

Moving away from the mindset of dieting, Alicia helps clients build a toolkit of strategies to reduce stress and increase peace of mind. She supports her clients through one-on-one sessions and a virtual meal planning program to build helpful habits and create actionable plans to meet their goals.

‘Quick & Delish by Alicia Connor’ is a video cooking series on YouTube where Alicia presents easy recipes with minimal steps for flavorful, balanced meals. 

Image Descriptions

  • Header: Fresh Start This Way sign with an arrow pointing in the right direction, on a cork board.
  • New Year Fresh Start text on a notepad next to a cup of coffee
  • Healthy fruits & veggies with a weekly meal plan on a wooden background.
  • Author photo: Alicia Connor a pretty brunette with dark wavy shoulder-length hair wearing a denim jacket as she leans on a kitchen counter with assorted veggies in front of her.
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