If you plan to start meal planning "sometime soon" and find yourself thinking it could be too much work, or take up too much time, or require a true commitment, you might want to think about it a different way.
While it is true that meal planning and meal prepping for the week require time, effort and commitment, in the long run you save time and money, hone your organization skills and improve your quality of life. Worth it, isn't it?
Here are some of the great advantages of planning and prepping meals in advance for you and your family.
1. Increase health and happiness:
- Plan, cook and shop healthily: when you have a weekly plan it's easier to see the nutrition map of your weekly plan. How many times did you come home after work stressed and hungry? You probably skipped breakfast, had a "whatever-they-have" takeaway lunch and grabbed the first thing you saw in the fridge when you got home. Meal planning increases your ability to make healthy choices ahead of time. This means you can plan a healthy on-the-go breakfast, prep lunch in advance and get home knowing exactly you have healthy ingredients available at home.
- Connect the family together: when you meal plan you have the time to sit down and enjoy your pre-cooked meal (rather than stare at the fridge looking for ideas...) and most importantly, it is a great way to bring the family together around the dinner table.
2. Get organized:
- Reduce stress: if you don't meal plan, it's safe to assume "what's for dinner" is a nagging thought that creeps into your mind several times a day. Even if you have an idea of what you're going to make when you get home, you're not sure you have the ingredients, you don't know if you'll have time to prepare it until dinner time and you're pretty sure you're gonna get rejects from one or more picky eaters. When you meal plan, that stress goes away! You just KNOW. You know what's for dinner every night of the week, you bought the ingredients in advance, you accounted for every family member ahead of time, so that everybody, including yourself, is happy:)
- Take control of your day: whether you're a working mom or a stay at home mom, those afternoon hours could be challenging, to say the least. These after school hours are when our kids tend to be tired and sometimes even overwhelmed. They need us and crave our attention. They want to feel secured and cared for. Meal planning allows you to clear this very important time in the afternoon and spend meaningful, mindful time with your children.
- Learn to balance structure with flexibility: meal planning is great practice for planning in general. When you set forth a structure, you learn to find flexibility within it. This makes it easier to achieve your goals even when things don't go as planned.
3. Save time and money:
- Make efficient use of time: shop, prep and cook in advance for each day of the week to save time.
- Make smart use of groceries and leftovers: take inventory of your pantry, fridge and freezer to make sure you use the groceries you have available at home before they expire. Use leftovers as part of the plan, to make sure good food does not go to waste.
- Spend less on grocery shopping and takeout: when you prep meals for work and cook dinner in advance you spend less on shopping and take-out.
So... that's an easy one, right? Now you've got all the reasons you need to make you start meal planning today!
Want a reminder of all the awesome advantages of meal planning and meal prepping? We've got a printable for that! Print this out and put it where you can see it:)