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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 Why You Should be Meal Planning
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 as 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 of time.
It really comes down to preference. Such as whether you do it weekly or monthly.
I prefer doing it once a month and recommend planning for just the week if you’re just getting started.
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.
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 picks ups for items you may need for your spontaneously made meal.
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 impose buys at the grocery store too.
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 Your 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 actually eat more fruits and veggies.
And 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. Not every night needs to be a meal that includes a lengthy cook 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.
No more wrestling with the daily ‘What’s for dinner?’ dilemma. It’s already been decided.
I just have to take a quick peek at the menu for the day and maybe pull out 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 really 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.
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.