5 Reasons You Should be Meal Planning – Healthy Tips

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There are a great number of reasons why you should be meal planning. Eating healthy starts with a good plan of action. Here are my top 5 reasons.

5 Reasons You Should be Meal Planning – Healthy Tips

For many people, it can be hard to get started with a meal plan. Instead of letting that hold you back, let go over some reasons to push you forward. First, I need to point out that meal planning is as flexible or rigid as you want it to be!

You can be a rockstar planner just by planning out weekly dinners or taking it a step further to include breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Sitting down to a home-cooked meal is something I never regret doing and I believe the same is true for you. Getting into the kitchen after working all day isn’t usually a task that I’m dying to do.

This is why I started meal planning so long ago. I want to let you know how much your life can be improved by just setting aside a little time to game-plan your meals.

Here are my favorite top five benefits of meal planning.

What is Meal Planning?

It is actually what it sounds like. It is the process of planning your meals. When you menu plan, you create a list of meals and snacks that will be prepared for a specified period. It comes down to preference, such as whether you do it weekly or monthly.

I prefer doing it once a month and recommend planning for the week if you’re just starting. Planning your meals is one of the best ways to save money and eat healthily at the same time. When you make a meal plan before you shop, you are not only making for a less stressful week, but you are giving yourself a chance to eat a healthier diet.

Don’t forget to check out these answers to the most commonly asked Meal Planning Questions.

Saves Time

I got caught in the rut of trying to figure out dinner, typically an hour before I had to make it. I would sit at my desk at work thinking about what I had in my fridge. This happened almost daily. I spent an hour of my day planning a thirty-minute meal. So.. MUCH.. TIME.. LOST!

Now I sit down once a month for thirty minutes and plan out thirty days of meals. And then, weekly, I figure out my grocery list. I do look ahead and if I find an item on sale, I will pick it up and put it away specifically for that meal. It also eliminates last-minute grocery store pick-ups for items you may need for your spontaneously made meal. This also keeps us within our grocery budget.

Saves Money

The weekly “big shop” I do is at a large discount supermarket about fifteen minutes away. The trip is worth the savings. I plan my meals around what is on sale and what I have on hand already. Purchases of extra items in between weekly grocery trips can add up quickly.

Knowing what you will be eating and what you need to buy will help you stay within your budget. It also eliminates the random impulse buys at the grocery store. A 2018 Forbes article compared the average cost per serving of preparing over 80 popular dinner recipes at home to the cost per serving of that same dish purchased from a restaurant or a delivered meal kit.

The study found that it costs five times more to order that dish from a restaurant than it does to cook it at home. This study doesn’t shock me at all. Eating out is expensive.

Gives you more Control Over your Food

Meals cooked at home are typically healthier than the ones you pick up on the way home. Planning your meals at home allows you to prepare healthier meals. It is a fact, that when you create dinners at home, you eat more fruits and veggies.

The combination of being too tired and hungry can lead to poor food choices, so it’s handy to have meals ready to go when you are hungry. Not every night needs to be a meal that includes a lengthy cooking time. If you have picky kids, you know how difficult it can be to appease everyone. Here are some meal ideas that are kid-approved.

Most healthy food ideas can be made quickly, like these Salt & Pepper Pork Tenderloin Cutlets.

Eliminates Stress

No more wrestling with the daily ‘What’s for dinner?’ dilemma. It’s already been decided. I have to take a quick peek at the menu for the day and maybe pull our protein out of the freezer for defrosting. You can always reuse meal plans and grocery lists to help cut down on planning and prep time. 

Healthy meal options help with good nutritional needs, which gives your body the fuel it requires daily. Preparing you for the day ahead.

Allows You to Try New Things

This is the part I love about meal planning. Over time, you will notice that you start to plan the same old, tried, and true recipes. But with meal planning, you can carve in what I like to call “experimental nights”. These are the planned nights in which I try out a new recipe.

When I meal plan, I’ll pull out a cookbook, or surf the Internet, flip through a magazine, and try something new. Eight times out of ten, I find something that everyone loves, and that gets added to our dinner rotation. Finding new recipes is something I am always on the lookout for.

Pro-Tip – Do not schedule a new meal for Monday night dinner. I find Mondays to be the hardest night to make a meal. Getting back into the swing of a new week can be a lot. So make something simple and save the experimenting for later on in the week.

Getting Started with Meal Planning

Now, that you know the importance of meal planning, you can see why I’m all for it. Meal prep and meal planning are invaluable skills to master if you want to avoid taking out every night and dishing out money on convenience meals. I am a big proponent of meal planning and here on Inspiring Savings, you can find great recipes and articles to help you further your meal planning adventure.

More Meal Planning Resources

Common Mistakes That First-Time Meal Planners Make

Creative Uses for Leftovers – Don’t Throw Away

Pantry Staples – Items You Should Have on Hand

The Best Time to Buy Anytime – A Month to Month Grocery Sale Cycle Guide

Frequently Ask Questions About Creating Healthy Meals

Do your kids eat everything you make?

The short answer is “NO”. I only make one meal for dinner. I don’t become a short-order cook for dinner. My only ask of them is to try more than one bite. Seemly, my kids will eat at least half of the food they don’t care for. I don’t force them to eat something they can’t palliate.

What do you do for breakfast and lunch?

I personally only plan for dinner. I make sure to include a few items for bigger weekend lunches and breakfasts on our shopping list. My kids and I are not big breakfast people. My husband will take leftovers from the night before to work. During the school week, my kids like to eat the same thing every day. For my daughter, it is sandwiches, fruit, and chips. My son eats homemade rice, chicken, and raw carrots.

How often do you meal plan?

I like to meal plan once a month. It works well for our family so that our meal plan matches our schedule. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is that they meal plan without looking at their schedule.

I make sure to add to my meal plan day when my husband will be traveling or my kids sporting events (basically busy days). This way, I know the type of meal to make – a quick meal vs something that requires a longer cooking time. It also, helps me to be aware of items we need while grocery shopping.

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  1. Thanks for introducing this concept as I didn’t know much about this before. Great and useful info and I think they are useful to many people!

  2. I really need to work on doing this! I am terrible at planning and it is financially wasteful as well as ending up with food waste. Thanks for your tips and help!

    1. Yes! Thanks for sharing all those importance of meal planning. This is a great great article

  3. Meal planning is definitely something I try to do as much as possible. Of course when guests are over it’s different 😀

  4. “Gives Your More Control Over your Food”! This is it! Without planning for your food, majority of it won’t end up in your tummy, for sure!

  5. I always plan my meals for the next week the week before. That way I’ll know what food to buy in the grocery and not just random meals that I won’t even eat.

  6. I like this idea of meal planning but I’m guilty of not doing it. Doing it once a week would my option. Thank you for sharing and I will start working on it.

  7. I can understand how important a meal planning is since I keep eating the same cooked food at home. I pretty much need this to improve the daily meals.

  8. This is so important! If I don’t meal prep I always end up spending so much money on lunches or breakfast.

  9. Not enough people recognize how beneficial meal planning is. You can save so much money and time when you map out your meals.

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