Planning meals is an activity that can bring a number of benefits. Whether you are cooking for one, for two or for your entire family, taking the time to sit down and plan future meals has many benefits. Here are just a few.
Benefits of meal planning
- Healthier Eating: If you are trying to lose weight and control your calories, meal planning is hands down the best option to help you achieve your goals. There are so many menu plans online to help you create the perfect meal. Choose from specific diets to meet your needs.
- Peace of Mind: Eliminate the stress of what to prepare for each meal. Having your meals planned not only gives you peace of mind but it also decreases the chances you choose unhealthy options such as fast food, candy and other foods that are often eaten because of lack of planning.
- Save Money: Everyone knows that eating at home is the best way to save money. You can save even more money by planning your meals in advance and creating menus with similar ingredients. Whether you are shopping for a family of eight or two you can be wise about your choices and start spending your money on things other than food. Meal planning also reduces portion sizes which will save you money as well as calories.
- Routine: Building meal planning into your daily routine helps you to live a well-balanced lifestyle. Research has shown that, throughout history, the most successful people in their fields, what some might call the geniuses of that field, almost all had daily routines.
- Time together: Having meals planned a head of time will give you more time to spend with your loved ones cooking and eating together. Researchers find that families who eat dinner together five nights a week reap great benefits. Studies also indicate that dinner conversation is a more potent vocabulary-booster than reading, and the stories told around the kitchen table help our children build resilience. Regular family meals also lower the rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents.
Tips to make it easier
- Plan it out: Use programs like Excel or Numbers to sort out your days and meals. After you create your weekly menu immediately create a grocery list on the same file and upload to your checklists.
- Partner together: Make meal planning fun. I recently came across a wonderful App called Wunderlist that allows you to create lists and share them with others. They can add to the list and check off the list as tasks are completed. Upload your grocery list and share the shopping. The lists are in real time. As soon as the task is done or items are purchased the user just checks it off the list on the phone. Real time, shared lists – how amazing!
- Print it out: Keep a copy of the meal plan on the refrigerator so everyone knows what the plan is for the week. Once the week is over, file the meal plan and grocery list into a three-ring binder. Keep a extra copy of the meal plan in your planner. Excel will allow you to print in A-5 and many other sizes to keep it with you at all times.
- Archive: Keep a notebook of each of your weekly meal plans. After you have made five or six plans you can reuse them again. MealPlan.8.10-8.16.2015.
Do you have a favorite weekly meal plan to share? Post a link to it in the comments below!