I hate it when I come home from work, and I have no idea what we will have for dinner. We either end up going and getting something, fast food, or cooking but have to run to the store first and end up eating a late meal and spending more on groceries than we expected.
Have you ever encountered this?
I want to share with you seven benefits of meal planning. Why seven? Because there are seven days in the week. One for every day of the week!
1. Meal planning saves you time.
If you have to run to the grocery store after work or squeeze it into your day, you are not using your time efficiently. If you plan your meals and go to the grocery store once a week, you will find more time in your week. It’s even better to plan your meals, order online, and pick up your groceries.
To be honest, I don’t prefer online grocery shopping. I like going into the store and picking out what I am buying. Sometimes when I go, I may see something that I forgot to put on the list. :)
If I had young kids, I would be ordering online, no questions asked! I used to dread taking my babies to the grocery store, so online shopping would have saved the day!
We all need more time. Time for self-care, husband and wife time, family time, and time with friends.
What would you do if you had more time?
2. Meal planning helps you not to waste food.
I hate wasting food. I can even repurpose leftovers.
When you meal plan, you tend not to waste food because you know exactly what you need, so you buy exactly what you need. There is a gameplan. Meal planning also helps limit overspending.
When you don’t have a gameplan, it’s easy to go out to eat, and then the food you did buy goes to waste, and you end up throwing food away.
Wasting food is also wasting money, and nobody wants to throw money away.
3. Meal planning reduces stress.
When you know what meals you will make, you don’t waste time or brainpower stressing over the decisions.
How much stress have you added to your day because you didn’t know what you were going to have for dinner?
Have you ever had this conversation?
“What do you want for dinner?”
And the response is, “I don’t know, what do you want?”
Then the conversation turns to, “Should we go out?”
“Sure, where do you want to go?”
I’m stressed just thinking about these conversations.
If it has already been decided, there is nothing to stress over. You just go and make it!
If you already know what you are going to make for dinner, you can prep the night before or start dinner in a crockpot the morning of and let it cook all day.
When you have a game plan, your stress levels decrease, and you feel peace and not stress.
4. Meal Planning helps you to stay on your budget.
When you know what you are having, you tend not to over-buy.
Without planning, it is easy to buy more than you need because you start overthinking. You are not sure what you have or don’t have, so you spend more money than you need to and go over your budget.
If you are like me, I don’t want to redo my budget just because I didn’t have a game plan.
Have you ever gone to target for one little $15 item and come out spending over $100? I have.
But when you have a plan, you don’t tend to overspend. You may buy a few extra things, but you don’t blow the budget.
5. Meal Planning helps you plan more healthy meals.
When you have a game plan, you get to choose what kind of food you want.
When there is no plan, it is too easy just to go out and grab something for dinner, and most of the time, it will not be a healthy meal.
But when you have a plan, you can plan healthy meals. You can buy organic meats and have a salad and a vegetable. You make healthier choices because you can think them through ahead of time.
6. Meal planning helps you enjoy more variety.
You can try new recipes and cook different types of foods. You can have six meals that you regularly cook and then try a new recipe.
You can plan and have a variety all at the same time.
Monday - Soup or stew Tuesday - Tacos Wednesday - Italian Thursday - Chicken dish Friday - Indian curry dish Saturday - Hamburgers Sunday - Roast
Look at all the variety you can have just by having some kind of plan.
7. By meal planning, you can always have a meal on hand.
Let’s face it. Life just happens sometimes! So, it’s great to have the ingredients on hand for a meal or two, so you don’t have to think about it. You will never get stuck. There is always a plan.
Bonus - Keep a few weeks or up to a month planned out.
As you plan your meals, keep the plan and the grocery list saved so you can recall it.
Put a month of recipes together and rotate the weeks for the next month.
Once you take the time to start putting meal plans together, it will get easier. So do the work now, and you will find more time, more money, less stress, and you will be eating healthier with more variety.