During National Nutrition Month, celebrated each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago encourages everyone to “Go Further with Food” by preparing meals in advance to enjoy throughout the week.

“Preparing several meals on the weekends can provide balanced meals that can easily be reheated throughout the week,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Kristen Smith. “It’s also a great way to eat healthfully, save time during the week and reduce food waste.”

After you choose a day to prepare meals, decide which recipes you want to use and create a grocery list, Smith says. When possible, choose meals made with ingredients you already have at home to get the most out of your food.

Cooking in bulk saves money and allows you to portion and freeze meals for later, Smith says. Instead of reheating an entire dish, only reheat a single meal. After reheating food in the microwave or the oven, use a thermometer to ensure leftovers reach a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Create a meal prep plan that includes a variety of your favorite, healthful foods,” Smith says.

To find a personalized plan that works best, Smith suggests consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

As part of National Nutrition Month, the Academy’s website includes articles, recipes, videos and educational resources to spread the message of good nutrition and the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Consumers can also follow National Nutrition Month on the Academy’s social media channels including Facebook and Twitter using #NationalNutritionMonth.

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