Meal Planning Benefits
Whether you’re a stay at home, or a working parent, figuring out what’s for dinner can be frustrating and stressful.
Meal planning is a great way to help relieve not only stress, but also save money and time. In addition, meal planning is a great way to keep you and your family eating healthier!
With such positive benefits, why isn’t meal planning a part of your weekly routine?!
In the following weeks we will share some tips on how to successfully include meal prepping into your weekly routine.
Let’s begin our journey by sharing some of the benefits of meal planning.
Let’s face it. Sometimes we are running to the grocery store with a vague idea of what we need. When you meal-plan, you save money by purchasing only the ingredients that need to be purchased for that week. Knowing ahead of time what needs to be purchased, helps reduce the temptation to buy items simply because they are on sale. Buying items simply because they are on sale is one of the easiest ways to spend money on things you don’t need, which may cause you to spend more than planned. Meal planning helps you prepare just enough food to use left overs for lunch the next day so that you save that lunch money.
Meal planning will also allow you to incorporate healthier ingredients in your menu and try different recipes! Now that you are not buying on impulse, you will be able to try different recipes and chose healthier ingredients. Creating a healthier meal list ahead of time helps you stay focused and skip impulse purchases, such as chips, candy and processed foods. There are also many phone applications that help make your visit to the grocery store quick and painless. (See below for recommendations.)
It might seem intimidating at first, but just two hours on a Sunday afternoon, will save you so much more time and stress the rest of the week. With time saved, you can set the table and eat together as a family, go out for a walk after dinner, or even relax and watch a movie together. Did someone say dessert? Yes! There’s even time for that!
Less Food Waste
There are few more frustrating things than throwing away produce and food that have gone bad or expired. A few months ago we posted a blog about reducing food waste and how the average household throws away $640 worth of food each year. Meal planning helps reduce food waste because you only buy what you need for the week, this prevents “the forgotten (rotting) cucumbers that are hiding in the back of the produce drawer” scenario.
According to the American Heart Association, stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, so why would you want to add stress to something that can be a simple fix? Figuring out at last minute what to make for dinner while having two little ones telling you how hungry they are, and going through homework and letters from school, can be overwhelming. When you have a meal plan, it reduces stress levels because everything is already laid out for you. There are way too many things we can’t control already, but knowing what’s for dinner doesn’t have to be one.
Want to learn more about meal planning? Check out these posts:
Meal Planning in Five Easy Steps
Meal Planning: Storage and Recipe Tips
Recommended Meal Planning Apps for Grocery Shopping
Great information! The recommended apps above are good selections….love Big Oven…just what I was looking for (you can get recipes by ingredients; helps use up those bargain buys.)