Why You Should Plan Your Meals

You always read on health blogs about sad meal plans consisting of the same chicken and rice for lunch every day. These blog posts make meal planning sound depressing and boring – definitely not something that you want your food to be. While the health-food route is viable way to meal plan, it’s not the only way. Foodies and culinary academy graduates can also benefit from planning their meals ahead of time, saving them both time and money.

What is meal planning?

Meal planning doesn’t necessarily mean grilling up a load of chicken to eat every day that week. It is simply making a schedule of which meals you are going to prepare, and having them ready to cook up ahead of time, making for simple and quick preparation. You can plan ahead for every meal of the day.

Meal planning cuts down on food waste
How many plastic containers of leftovers do you have sitting at the back of the fridge from who-knows-when?  Are they full of mashed potatoes or broccoli that wasn’t finished by the family at dinner time, pushed aside until it’s no longer recognizable? Cooking with a purpose, for a certain amount of meals can keep you from saving bits and pieces of a meal that don’t add up to a full serving.

Meal planning can save you time
While meal planning initially seems like an ordeal, a couple of hours on a Sunday night of packing things into individual freezer bags to put in the slow cooker or into your child’s lunch box beats spending every night preparing dinner and packing lunches for the next day. What’s easier than throwing an already-prepared dinner into the slow cooker before handing your kid an already-made lunch before heading out the door to start the day?

Meal planning makes shopping simple
Determine at the beginning of the week what dishes you’d like to make, and write down all of the ingredients that you need to prepare them. Go through your cupboards to determine what you already have, and take a trip to the grocery store to get the rest. No more wandering the aisles trying to remember what it was that you needed from the store. It’s all written down, and you’ll never have to worry about missing an item and having to run out for it while preparing dinner.

Meal planning saves you money
When you get a hefty grocery bill after buying the week’s ingredients, you may start to doubt that meal planning is cheaper than going out to eat or ordering take out. But think about how much your average restaurant check is. It’s probably about half of that grocery bill. By making your own meals, you’ll be eating more nutritious food and saving money in the long run.

While meal planning is incredibly convenient, and better for your health and wallet, it can get tiring as well. On nights that you prepare the week’s meals, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a nice dinner out.

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