What is meal planning?
Meal planning is the simple act of planning and writing down any of your meals for the week (or month!) ahead of time.
Plan for yourself or plan for your family. Plan to eat wholesome meals, and plan a night out or two. Plan every snack and meal, or simply plan your lunches so you don’t spend money on restaurant food during the week.
Meal planning is as flexible or as rigid as you want it to be!
It doesn’t really matter what you plan, as long as you thought about it! The goal is not to start from zero for every single meal.
Don’t let the term meal plan scare you. You can plan literally anything. You can even plan NOT to cook. What’s important is that you thought about it. You know what you have going on.
When you’re hungry and your blood sugar drops, you’re more inclined to eat whatever you can get the fastest. This is why some of us settle for the closest fast food joint with unhealthy options. Meal planning eliminates this issue when you have a balanced meal at your fingertips, filled with nutrient-dense food prepped and ready to go!
Being hungry and realizing you have nothing planned is undoubtedly stressful. Instead of standing in front of your fridge or pantry deciding what to whip up, you can have your healthy meal ready in minutes. This also saves you the hassle of cleaning up after cooking.
Everyone can agree that saving money is something we all try to do, and meal planning is a great way to help. While you skip out on spending money at restaurants, meal planning also involves buying items in bulk, which can be a huge money saver. Sticking to what’s on the list also avoids impulse buys at the grocery store.
Avoid Wasting Food
When it comes to meal planning, you go to the grocery store with a plan, and know how you’re going to use all of the items. When every food has a purpose, you won’t have to worry about items in your fridge going to waste.
Whether you’re cooking for your entire family or just yourself, taking the time to plan your meals for the week ahead is definitely worth the effort. The key is just to set aside a little bit of time each week to do it.
Reduces the Stress of Cooking Last Minute
By having your meals organised ahead of time can reduce the dreaded ‘what’s for dinner?’ question. We know planning dinner can be an unnecessary stress, particularly on weeknights when you have to race home from work and try and get a healthy, nutritious meal on the table. If you have a healthy meal pre-organised all that is left at the end of a long day is to heat and eat.
Enjoy more variety
When we’re busy, it can be easy to cook the same thing over and over again. Meal planning helps to ensure you’re eating a variety of different foods, and it can help you eat more fruit and vegetables, which can help reduce the risk of chronic lifestyle diseases. By following a healthy meal plan, it will also help ensure you’re eating the right foods in the right portions.
You don’t always have to do exactly what you planned out for yourself, but try it for at least 3 days. Use up your ingredients by making delicious home cooked meals.