March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is “Go Further with Food” – what does that mean? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging you to plan your meals and snacks ahead of time, which can help you stick to healthier foods along with reducing food waste. When it comes to meal planning, many of us feel pressed for time every day and rely on frozen foods, restaurant meals, or the fast food drive-thru instead. But with a little practice, meal planning can save you money, time, and hundreds of calories! To start, pick a day where you can take an hour or two to decide on healthy recipes for the week. It might be the day before you go grocery shopping, or maybe even right before you head to the store. Here are some easy ways to save time when it comes to meal planning:• Choose recipes that use some of the same ingredients • Plan for a vegetable soup at the end of the week to use up any leftover vegetables• Plan to make a few “base” foods that you can mix and match to create different meals; for example, grilled chicken and chopped vegetables could be made into soup, salad, stir-fry, or even pizza! Once you have your list of meals ready, write down any ingredients you don’t have in stock for each meal plus anything else you need for the week (snacks, milk, bread, etc.). After you get home from the store, take some time to complete the first few steps of each meal. You could cook a large batch of brown rice to use in different recipes throughout the week, and you could even freeze a portion to use in a month or two. Chop or slice raw vegetables for recipes (and snacking!), or grill or roast veggies to be reheated as a side dish. Just keep in mind how long certain foods will keep in the fridge and plan accordingly. If you feel overwhelmed by meal planning for the whole week, try starting with just three dinner ideas. Here are some of the easiest meals to plan ahead:• Slow cooker meals: Soups, chili, and casserole-style dishes • Sheet pan dinners: Cook a protein (chicken, beef, etc.), potatoes, and vegetables all on one pan for a delicious meal and easy clean-up! • Salads: Include a grain (rice or quinoa are great choices) and a protein (grilled chicken or beans) for a filling meal that takes just a few minutes to makeThese tips can help you make healthier choices every day – just start small and find what works for you! Happy Nutrition Month!