What if I said that you could eat healthier, save money, and reduce stress through meal planning? You might say I’m crazy, but it’s true. Here are some things to consider when weighing out the benefits of meal planning.
Healthy foods, healthy you!
Planning your meals allows you to think about your food in advance and add key ingredients from necessary food groups that might otherwise be neglected when faced with last minute meal preparation. Additionally, planning your meals and taking a “sack lunch” ensures you don’t find yourself in the drive thru lane because you’re hungry now.
Save money, waste less!
According to the USDA, the United States alone wastes approximately 133 billion pounds of food and spends on average $1 billion dollars a year on food waste removal. Avoid throwing away more uneaten food by sticking to your grocery list created from your meal plan. That doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to something indulgent every once in a while, just put it on the list! Walking into the grocery store fully armed with your list (and the confidence to stick to your list) will ensure less impulse purchases, less wandering, healthier foods in your cart, less spoiled food in your kitchen, and fewer grocery trips.
Have fun, don’t stress!
Be creative with your recipe choices (explore some of my great recipes on pinterest) Start by setting aside some time at the end of each week to plan for the next. Don’t overwhelm yourself by planning a whole month right from the start; remember, it takes 21 days to create a habit. Additionally, lots of fantastic recipes freeze great – so make a large batch, portion it out in containers and freeze them for quick and easy meals (even on the go).
5 Simple Steps to Meal Planning…
- Decide on a plan: How many meals are you planning for the week? How many people are you planning for?
- Explore fun recipes: Find recipes that sound good to you and your family. If you are excited for your meals, you are more likely to stick to your plan.
- Create a shopping list: Take inventory of what you have on hand. Based on the recipes you chose for your week, create a shopping list of all the items needed.
- Stick to your list: When at the grocery store, it’s important to stick to your shopping list to ensure less waste, and more savings.
- Prepare your meals: Prepare what you can for the meals you have planned for your week. This will save you more time later if you chop everything now and have it available when cooking. You can also prepare a full meal now and freeze it for later.