Meal planning can help reduce food waste. By helping you avoid purchasing and eating perishable goods, meal planning can help ensure less wasted food.
Meal planning also encourages regular home dining, which can often be less costly and healthier. Furthermore, meal planning reduces decision fatigue so eating healthily becomes simpler!
1. Saves you money
Meal planning goes beyond simply compiling a grocery list; it also involves smart shopping, cutting food waste and streamlining cooking procedures while learning new recipes – all which help save you money in the process! Meal planning is one surefire way of accomplishing all this and saving more.
Without a plan in place, it can be easy to overspend on groceries by buying items you don’t require or make multiple trips without actually intending on purchasing everything – both scenarios can lead to excess expenditure on groceries.
Planned shopping trips help prevent this situation as you can quickly check what items are in the pantry and fridge before creating your shopping list, and can write it more efficiently (reducing any impulse buys that might sway you) than without.
Planning meals makes budgeting simpler. Most meal plans will include a day/meal chart that allows you to write out exactly which dishes will be prepared each evening of the week and divide that by your dietary needs or by how much money you wish to spend each week or month.
Staying within budget becomes much simpler this way, and the food will likely be healthier – nothing beats a delicious home-cooked meal!
Meal planning can also prevent last minute pleas from the kids at dinnertime – “Muuuum – What’s for dinner?”. Making healthy, family-friendly dinner plans ahead can make it much simpler to convince your children that healthy, delicious homemade meals await them each night after school – meaning fewer takeaways, burgers or pizza deliveries as well as less chances for using the trusty slow cooker! Which can only be seen as beneficial!
2. Saves you time
Meal planning may take only minutes each week at first glance, but in time those few seconds add up! By making time to plan, you save yourself precious moments each day as it eliminates rushed decisions or scrambling around for ingredients – especially important if you are caring for children or have other responsibilities that require your focus and consideration.
Meal planning can also reduce food waste and unnecessary spending. By reviewing your shopping list in advance, you can check what items already exist within your house, so as not to purchase items which will go to waste or are unnecessary purchases. Furthermore, by keeping an eye out for sales and coupons to reduce further your grocery bill!
Meal planning can save money in another way by encouraging you to eat at home more often. Instead of ordering pizza or heading through the drive-thru, meal planning makes you more likely to stick with a nutritious plan knowing there’s always an enticing, tasty meal waiting in your fridge or freezer!
Although some meal plans provide rigid templates that dictate exactly when and what food should be eaten (think weight loss or fasting-related plans), many offer flexibility and wiggle room. You may decide to plan your menus by week or by month depending on your personal needs or desired level of flexibility.
Meal planning can also help keep you on the path toward reaching your fitness goals by motivating you to cook more at home and avoid quick-and-easy options which quickly turn into bad habits. Although prepackaged food might seem easier, cooking from scratch is actually much healthier and it doesn’t need to be challenging either!
3. Makes you healthier
Figuring out what to eat day-to-day can be stressful when juggling work, family and other commitments. Finding something healthy to eat often becomes an afterthought or becomes the subject of dinner delivery service, leaving you to snack “on autopilot”. Meal planning can take the guesswork out of food consumption by helping you create nutritious meals that meet all of your nutritional needs while staying on track with fitness goals.
Studies demonstrate that people who plan their meals tend to eat healthier diets than those who do not, due to meal planning’s long-term benefits such as helping people avoid falling into an eating rut and more easily adding nutritious food and snacks into their daily regimen.
Estimates suggest that ordering restaurant meals or grocery shopping without creating a meal plan can increase food costs fivefold – not only are you more likely to purchase items you don’t need and waste food, but this approach may also lead to overspending and food waste. Meal planning can save money, reduce food waste, and make healthy eating more convenient for both yourself and your family.
Meal planning allows you to craft balanced meals, consisting of fruits or vegetables, whole grains, animal or plant-based proteins and small amounts of healthy fats. If you’re having trouble meeting your daily nutritional requirements, a meal planning app may help get back on the right path.
Meal planning can also be helpful for people who must pay special attention to what they eat, such as those with diabetes or heart disease. With a meal plan in hand, it allows you to select foods approved by a dietitian that suit both your lifestyle and health needs; then use this guide as a source for when and what to cook; this way you stay on track with nutrition goals while alleviating stress related to being mindful about what they eat.
4. Keeps you organized
Meal planning apps or paper notes – whatever works for you is all up to you! Some find it helpful to look ahead at all the meals in a week’s worth and plan them one at a time, while others prefer breaking them down by breakfast, lunch and dinner categories first. Others still prefer taking an inventory of what they already have available before reviewing their schedule for the week with regard to cooking or re-heating time estimates.
Meal plans offer many advantages to help ensure a nutritious week, such as providing an overview of foods being overlooked or where healthier alternatives could be added to the menu. Furthermore, meal planning reduces decision fatigue and risky decisions later on during the day.
Meal plans can also help you stay within your food budget – an invaluable advantage in today’s uncertain economic environment. By shopping with a plan in hand, it allows you to stick to your list and avoid overspending on items you won’t use and reducing food waste which is one of the costliest forms of waste!
Some people follow meal plans in order to achieve specific outcomes, like weight loss or cholesterol improvement. Others use them simply as an effective tool that fits into any lifestyle; just a bit of planning up front will reap long-term rewards! Adapted from Alix Turoff of New York City-based Registered Dietitian Alix Turoff Nutrition Podcast fame.