Washington State’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order allows leaving our homes for essential services including purchasing food, but encourages citizens to limit these trips to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  This necessitates savvy planning to ensure balanced meals which support our health and help us stay on budget. Try this four step guide to meal planning and shopping next time you consider a grocery run.

  1. Make a list of what you have. Look for items in your refrigerator and pantry which need to get used up, write them all down.
  2. Think about familiar recipes or look through cookbooks or websites for ideas using those items.
  3. Once you have recipes you would like to try, make a list of items needing to be purchased to make those recipes and add it to your list of weekly staples (bananas, apples, coffee).
  4. Stick to your list when shopping. This saves money as well as discourages impulse buying which tends to consist of items with low nutrition quality.

When planning meals, aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables and fruits, ¼ with protein-rich foods, and ¼ with high-fiber starches or whole grains. During times of disruption, it is important to build structure in your day. Meal planning can help you feel more in control, supports your nutrition goals, and reduces the chance of ordering out a last minute pizza. Add a daily 30-minute walk and you are well on your way to a healthier lifestyle!


Amber Phillips MS, RD is a registered dietitian at Island Hospital. She has a Master’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA and a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN. Phillips has a keen interest in community education. “Nutrition advice can be confusing and sometimes conflicting,” says Phillips. “My role as a dietitian is to follow the latest research and make it easy to understand for my patients and the public.” To schedule an appointment with Phillips, call (360) 299-1300 x2567.

Share this Post

Published on April 24, 2020