I always wondered what all the fuss was about when it comes to meal planning so I thought I’d give it a try myself. After all, I was struggling to think of new ideas and found myself cooking in re-runs, the same dinner again and again…
I very quickly discovered that planning your meals in advance makes ALL the difference and here’s why!
Healthier Meal Options
It’s very easy to slide into bad eating habits, especially when you are time poor and simply exhausted after a long day at work, making that take-out menu look way too appealing. Spending some time planning your meals for the week will motivate you to stick to your health goals – Everything is listed out, all necessary groceries have been purchased and if you’re REALLY good at meal planning, you would have even spent some time prepping said meals way in advance.
Diversify Your Menu
With so many things to plan and organise each and every single day, thinking of new and creative meals can be quite the chore! Effective meal planning allows you the opportunity to discover new recipes – We’ve discovered so many dinner ideas that have now become family favourites as a direct result of properly planning our meals.
Spend just a few minutes on Google: Type in your preferred ingredients and BAM: SO MANY RECIPES! You’ll be served (pun intended…) with several different combinations and dishes, different styles and serving suggestions – there are so many incredible ideas just floating around out there!
During your online research, add a couple of key words that will help narrow down your results to your specific needs. For example, are you hunting for recipes to assist with weight loss? Search for ‘Weight loss meal planning’ and you’ll find entire menus full of new ideas for you try out.
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Effective meal planning will also ensure less food gets wasted from your kitchen. As mentioned above, Marley Spoon is an excellent example of this: the service delivers you portioned ingredients, just enough to prepare each recipe for a selected number of people. If you prefer to do your own meal planning rather than using a delivery service, this at least is an excellent technique to apply to your own cooking and meal planning.
By planning, listing and only purchasing what you need for the week, there will be minimal food going to waste in your home which will also translate to better grocery budgeting too!
Which leads us into our next point…
Save Time & Money
Having planned your meals in advance makes it simple to also plan out your shopping list. Next time you’re at the store, not only will you not be forgetting anything behind but you’ll also find it much easier to stick to the list and avoid spending anything extra on unnecessary items.
Another great way to stay organised and save a bit of cash in the kitchen is not only to plan your meals but to also plan your freezer meals. Every month, I spend a day cooking freezer meals; everything from soups to curries, pies and pasties. Stock up your freezer with ready made meals so you will never be tempted to order take out again!
I found Samantha Michaels’ book ‘Freezer Recipes: 30 Top Healthy & Easy Freezer Recipes & Meals Revealed’ to be a very handy resource. Not only does it include an excellent selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that can all be prepared and frozen in advance but it also runs through food safety guidelines for preparing freezer meals. You’ll also find a super handy chart included that describes which types of foods freeze well allowing you to plan ahead and ensure your family has healthy and nutritious meals on hand every day!
Effective meal planning has great potential to save you time, energy and money so why not give it a go? Spend all that extra time doing something just a little more worthwhile!
To help get you started, we’ve created a Weekly Meal Planner that also includes space for your shopping list as well as your notes on favourite recipes to try, snacking options and much more! Click on the button below to download your FREE Weekly Meal Planner!