The Benefits of Meal Planning
At the start of the New Year I was committed to setting out a meal plan for the week. A full meal plan: complete with snacks throughout the day. This plan isn’t really for the kids. Their snacks and school lunches are different from mine; and sometimes dinner may look a little different too. I am trying to broaden their taste buds in the process, though. My kids both loved quinoa as babies, then not so much, and now they are back to eating it again. It all comes full circle.
So why meal plan you ask? A few reasons:
1. Saves Money
This is a big one. The amount of money I was spending per week on things I “thought” I might need or might make in the week was becoming ridiculous. I was running to the grocery store multiple times a week to pick up things to make a spur of the moment dinner; or ended up ordering take out because I didn’t know what to make, and was too tired/lazy after work to brainstorm. I can honestly say we rarely eat out. Of course once in a while we will go out, or I’ll pick up a pizza on a Friday night, but you get my point. I am not running out on break at work to grab a muffin, or on lunch to grab something around the corner.
2. Less goes to waste
We all throw out food, unfortunately. Whether it be a bag of shrivelled grapes, a head of cauliflower (that you fully intended on using), or leftovers from days before. I would hate to know the amount of money I have wasted on food I have thrown out. On Saturdays, I do a full meal plan for the week, make a grocery list based on that, and do my grocery shopping on Sundays. I RARELY throw anything out now. It’s almost comforting to see an empty fridge on Saturdays, knowing I used everything I purchased.
3. No more living at the grocery store
As I mentioned, I would find myself at the grocery store multiple times a week; and I hate going to the grocery store! I don’t know why, I just do. I hate bagging all the groceries (bring back the baggers! lol), and if the kids are with me, it takes so much longer. Now I go to the grocery store on Sundays and then on Wednesdays – only to pick up extra produce and snacks because of the kids and all the SNACKS. P.S. Can I have a snack? :p
4. Saves time
When I come home from work, I know what I am going to make. There is no wasted time hemming and hawing, looking up a recipe, or running to the store. If prep work is required, I will do it the night before (because there is no time in the morning). Even if I am making something slightly different for the kids, I have already planned out what I am making them.
5. Healthier Meals
I can almost guarantee that if you start to meal plan, you will also eat healthier. When I set up my meal plan for each day, I lay it out
I don’t get hungry throughout the day, and I have prepared balanced portions of meals and snacks to cover off everything I need in a day. (I’ll share more about what/how I eat in another post.)
I hope this inspired you! Happy meal planning!