I’ve been meal planning for years now, and I can’t imagine going back to how it was before. Just like most types of awareness and intention, meal planning allows you to think ahead and purposefully choose your meals and the ingredients required. This comes with many benefits, and it is a simple process to implement. Here is why and how to start meal planning plus a special freebie at the end of the post.
Why You Should Start Meal Planning
First, you will always be using up what you already have on hand keeping costs down. Plus, you’re in charge of what ingredients you use. Choose meals that incorporate ingredients that are in season or on sale. By having meals already planned out for each night, this can also prevent last minute decisions to eat out.
Waste Less Food
By meal planning you will be using up what you already have the house before it can go bad. You will also be basing your grocery list off of the meals planned, so your new purchases are guaranteed to be used in the coming week as well. For other tips on reducing food waste check out the 7 Simple Ways to Reduce Food Waste post.
You can save time with meal planning by prepping different parts of the meal ahead of time. For example, if I’m making rice one night and I know I’ll need it again in a few days, I’ll double the batch. I also make a week or two worth of beans at one time (for you that may be meat or another protein) and store it in the freezer.
You choose the meals and ingredients which means you can choose healthier options. Ensure you’re getting your daily amount of fruits and vegetables or different nutrients you may be concerned about. Meal planning also prevents impulse purchases of junk food, last minute runs for convenience products, or decisions to eat out.Meal planning allows you to save money, waste less food, save time, and eat healthy. Here's how! Click To Tweet
How to Start Meal Planning
I like to go through this process on Sunday to be prepared for the week ahead.
1. Go through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Take note of what ingredients you already have, especially anything that needs to be used up before it spoils.
2. Take a look at your personal calendar. Look for any days that you’re going to be busy in the evening, having company over, or already plan on eating out.
3. Scan over any relevant store flyers (often you can do this online now) or promotions to see what food items are the best value this week.
4. Look through cookbooks or websites like Pinterest or Yummly for inspiration, and find recipes that fit your needs for that week. Think about the ingredients you already have in the house, what is in season, and what is on sale.
5. Write out each meal you are going to make on each day of the week. Make a grocery list to match these needs.
To get you started off on the right foot, I’ve created a two page template that takes you through the meal planning process. You can get it now for free!
Do you meal plan? What is your process?