The Many Benefits of Meal Planning

MEAL PLANNING

What is meal planning? It’s essentially planning your meals ahead of time, usually each week. Sounds so simple but it takes practice and perseverance. It involves sorting through recipes [cookbooks, online, etc.] and finding meals that [1] are healthy and balanced [2] that will taste good [3]  and that you’re willing to cook. I like taking time on Saturday or Sunday to do my meal planning. And I don’t like to be rushed because I want to take my time and enjoy the process. So sit down, get comfortable and start meal planning today. I hope that my list of the many benefits of meal planning will inspire you to try it out.

 

THE MANY BENEFITS OF MEAL PLANNING

Meal planning information is among one of my #1 requests from clients. And so many people already know the importance of meal planning. In fact, it’s so important that it can mean the difference between sticking with a healthy lifestyle or falling back into bad habits. Planning out all of your weekly meals can seem overwhelming and time consuming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will change your life for the better! It only takes about an hour each week to write out your meals and grocery shopping list. Then later I’ll post some information on batch cooking, which is where we take meal planning to the next level by actually getting in the kitchen and cooking. Batch cooking is essentially cooking/prepping meals or ingredients ahead of time so you have healthy meals for the entire week. Stay tuned for that. But first, here are some of the many benefits of meal planning:

 

Saves You Money

Most people have experienced being on a tight budget, and when you’re trying to eat healthy the grocery bill can really skyrocket when you don’t meal plan. Meal planning allows you to still eat healthy while also saving money. Having a grocery list written out can also prevent impulse buys that many of us are guilty of!

 

Helps You Eat More Healthfully

While it may seem easier to hit the drive through or go to a restaurant, your health may be sacrificed as a result. Taking the time to meal plan can easily prevent this! Eating a nutrient dense, high quality diet is an important aspect of overall health that should not be overlooked. Also, if you let kids be involved in the planning process, they are more likely to try and actually like the healthy foods you are cooking.

 

Decreases Unwanted Stress Around Cooking

Not having an idea of what to cook for dinner or not having anything defrosted in time can cause a lot of unwanted stress. Take the stress out of cooking by having a plan and sticking to it. Having a general idea of what you will be cooking each week can take the stress out of meal planning. Choose your meat dishes, slow cooker/soup recipes and other ideas ahead of time [i.e. batch cooking – we will go over this in another post coming soon]. This will give you a good place to start when it comes to picking out specific recipes and writing out your grocery list.

 

Saves You Valuable Time

In the long run, meal planning saves a lot of time. Yes it takes some upfront time to sit down and plan your meals and write a grocery list, but it’s completely worth it. Planning ahead allows for meals to be cooked quicker and more efficiently, and also allows you to plan ahead for busier days where a crock pot meal or leftovers may be the best option.

 

Prevents Food Spoilage + Waste

Because healthy, whole foods tend to spoil faster than processed and packaged foods, meal planning will be especially important to prevent food waste. Also, choosing appropriate frozen ingredients when needed, such as vegetables and fruit can cut down on food waste. Meal planning allows you to use up all the food you’ve purchased, which will also save you money. It’s really a win-win situation!

 

Allows You to Eat and Cook Familiar Meals You and Your Family Love

Once you find a recipe you like, it’s okay to make it more frequently [weekly]. The key is making sure it’s a healthy, balanced meal with veggies, protein and healthy fats. I’ve found that having around 10-15 different go-to recipes will give you enough nutrient variety while also making sure that you don’t get bored with your meals. I encourage you to try at least one new recipe each week. Check out the blog for new recipes!

 

Helps You Take Advantage of Leftovers

Leftovers make the best lunches, and it takes the stress out of what to have for lunch. Pre-pack your dinner leftovers  [please use glass or BPA free storage containers] for lunch the next day and you won’t be scrambling to figure out what to have for lunch or hitting up the local drive-thru. Leftovers can also make great breakfasts. Most anything (leftover meat, stir-fries, or veggies) can be scrambled up with some eggs for a quick, nutritious breakfast.

 

Need help meal planning? Contact me here for more information. Or check out my Nutrition Services page here.

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Angela Freed

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