I have been obsessed with meal planning for about 18 months now. Every single Saturday without fail I get all of my recipe books out in front of me, get Pinterest open and start recording what I want for that coming week. I love planning my meals, it helps with my weekly grocery bill, helps me eat healthily and just generally keeps my productivity at a high. If you are considering Meal Planning too then here are some ways I think it is great. Let's go:
1. Saves You Money
I wrote a post here about I have saved money on my Grocery shop and like I have said before the biggest impact has definitely been creating a meal plan. It is actually crazy how much I have spent on grocery shopping in the past only to throw most of it away because I hadn't gotten around to eating it. It is so wasteful.
When you know exactly what ingredients you need, there is no risk of anything going bad and then having to throw it out at the end of the week. This is great for your purse and even better for the environment. As long as you stick to your grocery list and really resist the items that aren't on your list you know that everything in your basket is going to be eaten that week.
Also, each Saturday I have a leftover day. As I only cook for two of us sometimes we do have a small surplus of food at the end of the week, like half an onion, some cheese or leftover passata. With this I make leftovers every Saturday. Along with my cupboard staples I can make a great meal, and anything that we may be short of we can just run to the nearest shop to get. This means we are constantly using up the food we have and ultimately gives us a free meal a week!
Lastly, depending on the types of meals that we have mean that I can have leftovers the next day for my lunch. I can't do this with every meal but it's nice to on some of the pasta or rice dishes we make.
2. Eat Healthier
Because you know what days you will be eating this food you can get more fresh produce. You can really stock up on lots of vegetables you know you will be able to eat throughout the week.
It makes you more aware of what you are putting in your body. When you get home from work and have to think of what to eat with what you have in the fridge you are more likely to make poor choices than if you have planned it out in advance. When you pick your meals, if you are striving to be healthier you will make great choices and because you have this written down and a plan in place, you can stick to it once you get to that day.
As long as you are sticking to your list you won't be picking up as many snacks. Or you won't be buying food that will turn into odd snacks because you know they are reserved for other meals. I know the types of crazy food combinations I can eat when I am hangry! As long as you know what that food's purpose is in your fridge you are less likely to eat it early.
I never buy unhealthy snacks when we go shopping. I won't touch chocolate, biscuits or crisps or anything like that. If it isn't in the house I won't eat it. So as long as you are strict with yourself and don't deviate from your list you will be fine and just fill your body with good wholesome food.
3. Increases Productivity & Organisation
You know what they say, tidy desk = tidy mind? I truely beleive that this runs true in a lot of other ways as well. If we start being more organised in one area of our life it leads to us wanting to get things together in all areas. It's like I have caught a bug and now know that the best way to get things done is by arranging in advance. It is crazy how you can change your mindset towards one thing and before you know it your productivity has hit an all time high in all areas of your life.
It also means that you don't need to spend an hour each evening discussing what you want for dinner. I don't know about you but it's the most tedious and frustrating conversation ever. It can actually be quite stressful when you seem to be talking about this same thing every night so it's great that one simple step can stop this. It just sets your week up to be super simple and easy. You know exactly what you are having so don't have to put an ounce of thought into it once it has been written down on your list.
What I love is that it helps keep your fridge nice and tidy. Because you aren't just shopping sporadically you are always aware of what is in the fridge. You should't just be piling things in at random times and forgetting what might be hiding at the back behind the cheese. As I am putting away that week's shop I am going through the food already in my fridge and checking the use by dates and getting rid of anything that we need to. It means are fridge is always nice and tidy and never gets that funky smell. No more sniffing food hoping it's okay to eat.
As you can see I am a huge advocate for meal planning, I am constantly telling my family that they need to do it too and how much easier it makes my life. Just give it a go for a week or two and you will not want to go back. Save your time, health and sanity! I don't know about you but I actually enjoy sitting down and flicking through the books for ideas. And, we have some favourites we have picked up along the way so we know that we are going to enjoy pretty much everything we eat. I would love to hear why it is you are thinking of Meal Planning too!