I love planning my meals, and this is not because I am on a specific diet or trying to lose a few extra kilos. This is because, I just want to keep building a great life with healthy choices that include delicious meals.
In general, I am someone who likes planning. This goes for my yearly goals, eating habits, weekly health goals, and meal plans. I have found that planning helps me organize my life and minimize extra work and stress.
My family and I enjoy a home-cooked meal, but I am not happy with the idea of going straight to the kitchen after a hard workday. Meal planning makes all of this easier and allows for delicious meals without the stress. I have found that taking just 30 minutes, usually on Sunday, allows me to plan a whole week's worth of meals, and this helps me a lot. I am not talking about a very vigorous weekly meal plan. I am talking about a meal plan with some of my daily meals, including any restaurants or parties I may be going to that week.
When I first started doing this planning, I realized this helped me save time, money and helped me choose healthier options. Planning my family meals is a helpful way to ensure I am eating well and can make a big difference to my goals and my wallet.
What are the 5 Benefits of Making a Weekly Meal Plan?
#1 Eating Healthy
Meal planning helps me remove the need to choose foods when I am hungry and tired. I usually come home very hungry, I open the fridge and grab anything I find. However, if I would have had a planned meal, I would have found it ready and prepared when I opened the fridge. A meal prepared with a clear head means I am more likely to try and prepare healthier foods. Meal planning means that I have time to plan healthy meals. I can choose to avoid fast food or unhealthy treats every day. I can try new recipes with overall more healthy choices.
#2 Save time
Instead of prepping, cooking, and cleaning up every night, I prefer to spend a few hours cooking one day a week. It may sound overwhelming, but imagine the free time I have by only cleaning the kitchen and washing the dishes once a week. Without a meal plan, I spend a lot of time thinking about what to prepare each night for dinner or even wandering throughout the grocery store trying to come up with a meal. With a weekly meal plan, I will know precisely what I am making and what I need to buy, so no time is wasted at the grocery store. Meal planning also helps me avoid the time-consuming process of returning to the grocery store for one or two items multiple times during the week.
#3 Save Money & Reduce Food Waste
I go to the supermarket almost daily because I am unsure what to cook. I also buy a lot of ingredients that I don’t end up using. If I only get what I need in the quantities, I need for preplanned recipes. I am less likely to waste money because everything I buy has a purpose. Creating a grocery list based on a meal plan is an excellent way to get everything I need in a single trip to the supermarket. It saves me money and reduces food waste. Planning and cooking my meals at home also means I have leftovers, so I have saved my next day's lunch.
#4 Less Stress
I don't stress about what to make every night for dinner if I plan my weekly meals. It's stressful to plan last-minute meals. Getting time to prepare a healthy meal for your family is really important and therefore, planning a meal will calm your mind. Planning meals before the start of the week also allows me to cook and prepare great recipes. My family members do not always agree on what we want to eat for dinner - and therefore, with a meal plan, everyone knows what we are eating that week so there is no last minute complaining. Planning meals will automatically create a great environment by eliminating discussions about what we eat every night. I like to involve my family in creating weekly meal plans. Listening to their favorite meals gives me ideas for a new recipe, and including their favorite meals in the meal plan lets everyone see that they will have some meals of their own.
#5 Controls Portion Sizes
Making my meal plan helps me determine how much food I consume in a week. I can easily control my portions and my food. Meal planning means I am more likely to create a more balanced week of food as I think about it upfront and have time to create various dishes. If I only look at one meal at a time, which will happen if I don't have a meal plan, I can make a less balanced diet.
Planning my meals makes a significant impact on my life. I eat healthier, I have more time for myself and my family, I impact the planet by wasting less food, my family and I eat a good quality meal each day and my wallet thanks me for it!