How many times a week do you enter the grocery store, with nothing in mind, and have to come up with dinner on the fly? How many times a week do you end up spending double what you think you will at the grocery store?
Enter Meal Planning, Your New Best Friend.
You’ve heard of it. It’s something that obsessively organized people do. Right? No! Meal planning is something that everyone should do. Whether you are running a busy household and need to plan school lunches and meals for your kids, or are accommodating a family member with a health concern such as diabetes or a gluten allergy, or even if you just want to feel a little calmer before you step into the kitchen, a meal plan is an ideal solution for making your life easier!
Planning your meals can be as simple as writing down a few ideas before you head to the supermarket, or as complex as making dedicated lists of each item that you want to eat, attaching recipes, and coming up with a detailed shopping list. The good thing is that either way will help you achieve these goals:
1. You save money: when you shop once a week with a list of meals in mind, you save money on groceries. If you need further proof of this, go ahead and shop at your normal rate and tally up your receipts at the end of the week. The next week, plan out five meals, and shop once. Or even twice. It will be cheaper, and sometimes by a huge chunk of change.
2. You save time: when you have a few meals planned out for the week, you will save time grocery shopping, and likely, you will save time cooking as well.
3. There are added health benefits: when you plan your meals ahead of time, you minimize food cravings and overeating, by having something to look forward to. You also are planning for a specific portion size, which will reduce the chances that you cook double what you need just because you are starving.
Your homework: sit down sometime this week and jot down five possible meals for the rest of the week. This doesn’t have to be complex, it can be as simple as: “pasta, meatloaf, chili, salmon, pancakes for dinner”. Or, if you’d like something a little bit different, you might consider choosing a theme for the week or for each night: “Mexican, Italian, French, Moroccan, Country-style”.
This is the first post in a series about Meal Planning. We’ll be getting into the nitty gritty in the future, with ideas for kitchen novices and meal planning pros alike!!