Why You Should Be Meal Planning:
If you aren’t meal planning yet, you are missing out on some great ways to save time and money. Both in the kitchen and the grocery store! Keep reading to learn all about meal planning and why you should be meal planning in your life!
+ also there’s a weekly meal planning freebie later on in the article! Check it out!
What is Meal Planning?
You know that question, “what’s for dinner?” Meal planning is essentially asking yourself that, one time each week. Sounds great right? So why aren’t you already meal planning?
Most people think meal planning involves a chunky binder with dividers and recipe cards you have to fill out everyday. Other people think that it’s expensive and a waste of time. But that’s where you’re wrong! With this method, you can even save money with meal planning.
All meal planning involves is some brainstorming, shopping, and prepping some ingredients. You get it all done over the weekend or over a few days, and you’re set for the entire week! It’s an extremely flexible way to feed any size family, any day of the week.
My Meal Planning Method
It’s actually an extremely simple method to follow. I break my meal planning process down into three easy to remember steps:
- Select the dinners and any recipes if I want to spice things up
- Make a list and shop for the ingredients
- Spend some time preparing those ingredients for meals later in the week
I like to break things down as simple as possible so it leaves less room for my error.
Following this method has not only saved me time, but also money. I tend to strive for organization in all areas of my life. Meal planning is a fun one of those!
My Meal Planning Schedule
Friday Evening: I typically spend Friday evening starting my meal planning for the upcoming week.
Brand and I will sit down and think about any dinners, lunches, and snacks we will want for the next week.
If we are in the mood to try something new, we typically turn to Pinterest for inspiration. Also Brad can literally cook anything so I’ve got it pretty sweet. We then come up with two different lists (more on that in a minute) of food and ingredients we need to get!
Saturday: This is my big grocery shopping day!
I prefer to go shopping later in the evening because that’s when the stores seem to be most empty. Saturday mornings are good times too, I’m just not a morning person. We simply spend time finding our ingredients on our lists, and come home and forget about it until tomorrow. (usually because I’m so exhausted from grocery shopping)
Sunday: Hello prep day!
We actually like this part a lot. It only takes about an hour or so, which means we get to have the rest of our weekend together. That’s another common misconception of what meal planning is. It doesn’t have to be complex and hard to follow. You should be meal planning because it makes things simpler for you!
Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Meal Planning
Meal Planning Reduces Stress
Not gonna lie, this is the main reason I started meal planning. Days were either spent with not eating enough, or just engorging myself on snacks really late at night. We all work so hard, sometimes the thought of having to cook can cause some unnecessary stress.
You should be meal planning because it literally reduces stress about the kitchen. Think about it. When you come home from a long day, you don’t want to have to be tasked with figuring out dinner. That’s either a good way to get you a late night shopping and cooking, or you end up eating tortillas and sandwich meat rolled up for dinner again.
When you have a meal plan you take care of as many things ahead of time, as you can. It’s a lot easier having to deal with minor preparations for a meal than starting completely from scratch. I also just hate having to think of what we should eat for dinner each night.
Our meal plan covers the entire week, so I never have to sit and question what I want to eat. I’ve already done the hard work for myself! Make sure you check out my guide all about how to create the perfect meal plan! Remember you can prepare for meals in advance for whatever period of time you want! I know a superwoman who plans for her meals an entire month in advance!
Save Money with Sales
Meal planning can save you some money. This is another great reason why you should be meal planning! Not only are you going into grocery shopping with your list, you can also take the time to look for any coupons or sales from your favorite grocery stores.
Also make sure you are taking inventory of the things you currently have in your pantry! Oftentimes we completely forget that there are things in the back of our fridge that can be used for one, if not many different meals. When planning your meals also look to see if there are multiple meals that can be accommodated with similar ingredients. More bang for your buck!
We turn to fast food because it’s cheap and it’s fast. With the exclusion being Taco Bell. They are a gourmet restaurant that deserves respect. Meal planning can help you eat healthier and save your diet from going out the window when you are hungry.
Meal planning will eliminate any need to rely on last minute, and typically healthier options. You’ve essentially already created for yourself your own fast food at home. If you spend enough time in the prep stage, your meals will simply just need to be preheated on those late nights!
Add Variety to Your Menu
I also really like meal planning because it gives me the chance to diversify my personal cookbook. Sometimes we get tired of eating the same things over and over again. That’s the reason I like to pick and choose one or two meals each week that are different and new.
You can also join Facebook groups where people are constantly sharing new recipes they’ve tried. Get into a recipe swap kind of situation and find your new favorite recipes! Meal planning helps you from falling into the trap of eating the same meals each and every week.
Prevent Additional Waste
Let’s be honest, how many of us have thrown away food that just went bad and expired before we could eat it? Going one step further. How many of us have forgotten about something in our fridge and it just went bad from poor planning?
You should be meal planning so you can have a better handle on the wasted food you already have! Obviously this saves money, but it’s also a great way to get use out of the things you have already spent money on. Meal planning means you
When you are meal planning make sure to keep your portion sizes in mind. A good rule I like to follow when planning my meals is half the plate is fruits or vegetables. One quarter will be for protein, and the remaining quarter is for grains. When I plan with this strategic formula in mind, I limit the amount of leftovers I have. Unless I plan for leftovers, then it’s all out the window!
Get the Family Involved
Cooking with Brad is one of my favorite things to do. It gives me a chance to learn and be creative at the same time. Also, it’s just cute that we create our meals together. Whether you live with a significant other or your family, involve the people in your house with the meal prepping process!
Who knows, they might be able to give some pretty great recommendations for what they want! That makes your job easier right off the bat! Don’t forget that you can also get extra help in the kitchen when you involve the people in your house. Maybe you take turns switching who cooks each night. Or you can have one person dedicated to making the entrees while you work on the sides. Unless you have a one butt kitchen like my mom always says, get your family in the kitchen with you!
No More Last Minute Grocery Store Trips
This is a pretty sweet deal too! When you meal plan you are setting out time to go to the grocery store once. You simply get everything you need, and don’t look back until the next week. For whatever reason, Brad really likes grocery shopping. I, on the other hand, would rather get my teeth pulled.
Once in the grocery store per week is a perfect limit for me. When you know what the plan is for the week, you are creating a plan ahead of time. In doing so you are setting yourself up for success for the remainder of the week! Meal planning means you don’t have to make any last minute trips for things you forgot or meals you didn’t plan. Sign me up!
Cook Anything & Shop at Any Time
When you create your weekly meal plan you are creating that perfect list that will save you countless trips to the grocery store. This means you can get your shopping done at whatever time is most convenient for you!
Once you have finished all of your shopping, you essentially have ingredients for meals for your entire week. Are you not feeling spaghetti tomorrow? Good thing you already have stuff for burgers in the fridge. While I get that this kind of goes against the point of making a plan, it’s also nice knowing you can stray from it here and there.
Multitask in the Kitchen
If you are a regular over here on my blog, you probably saw the word multitasking and thought I was crazy for including it in my reasons why you should be meal planning. In most scenarios, I am a strong believer that multitasking can kill your productivity. However in the kitchen, there is room for it!
Take a look at your weekly meal plan. Is there an item on your list that you will need for multiple different dinners? What about an ingredient that needs to be cooked three different times? When you have a detailed meal plan, you can multitask your cooking duties and save some extra time (not in the kitchen)
Never Hear “What’s for dinner?” Again
Probably my favorite reason why you should be meal planning, not having to hear “what’s for dinner” every single night. Want to know what’s for dinner? I already decided on Sunday and it’s displayed on the menu board in the kitchen if you’re curious!
I’ve created a FREE PRINTABLE that will hopefully help with your weekly meal plan. Simply click, save, and print as many times as you need!
Now that I’ve gotten you excited about meal planning, you have to check out my guide on How To Create the Perfect Meal Plan.
It breaks the meal planning process down into 4 easy to follow steps. I even threw in my secret method to creating your grocery shopping list. Let me know what you think and if you want to see any more on this topic!