There are so many benefits to meal planning, but did you know meal planning can save you time, money and even keep you healthier? By planning your meals ahead of time you can reduce the last-minute stress of what to have for dinner. I don’t know about you, but I think that is the worst part of dinner time; trying to decide what to make! I usually create my menu the day before I go shopping. From that menu, which includes all meals and snacks I create a shopping list. Then I save money by only buying what is on my list. I also save money by not running out for takeout when I realize I don’t have all the ingredients to make anything in my cupboard!
Saving money meal planning
The best way to save money while menu planning is to plan your meals based on two things: 1. What you already have in your cupboards and 2. What is on sale. If you can make a big pot of something and use that in different ways throughout the week that can also help you to save money. For example; last night I made a big pot of rice and beans and made burritos. Then tonight, I will use the left over burrito ingredients to make enchiladas. Tomorrow, I will use what is left over and make a beans and rice “Yumm bowl”. This helps reduce waste, which is a bonus.
Another great way it saves money is the fact that I can go to the store and buy exactly what is on my list, saving me from frivolous purchasing. Not to mention the money I save not buying takeaway.
Saving time with meal planning
By spending an hour a week planning my meals and shopping list, I save all the time every day thinking about what I should make for dinner. Instead of wandering around the store wondering what to buy, I buy what’s on my shopping list.
You can also save time by making extra and freezing it for next time. There are so many meals you can put in the freezer and cook on another day when you don’t have as much time. One of my favorite things to make is lasagna. Usually when I buy the ingredients for lasagna I have enough to make a double batch. If I make two lasagnas, one to eat now and one for the freezer, than the next time I want lasagna, all I have to do is pop it in the oven! Voilà! It is like a homemade TV dinner – and much healthier than the store-bought TV dinners!
How meal planning makes you healthier
I don’t know about you, but when I am hungry I tend to crave sweets and fatty foods. The best way I have found to combat turning to these unhealthy foods is by planning ahead to have my meals ready for me at meal times and by having healthy snacks around the house. Planning ahead means that I can find healthy recipes that my family will enjoy and reduces the chance that we end up ordering a pizza hitting the drive-thru.
Meal planning also takes the stress away of trying to think on the spot of what you want to cook for dinner; which I believe is one of the most stressful parts of meal times. Less stress means a healthier and happier you!
How to get started meal planning
- Have a look in your cupboard, are there ingredients you want to use up?
- Look up the recipes you want to use, save them so you know where to find them again when the time comes!
- Create your menu, include snacks!
- Create your shopping list! It helps to look at the recipes of each thing while creating your list so you make sure you get everything you need!
- Buy your ingredients and have a stress-free week of delicious healthy food.
Download my FREE meal planning printable:
I created this menu and shopping list as a handy way to meal plan easily!
I hope this post helps you not stress so much about meals!
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