Although I love fresh starts, I also have learned that any day can be the start of new habits.
Meal planning is one of the most important, fundamental habits I picked up during my weight loss that I can attribute to my success. I’ve pieced together ideas from other people and in future posts I’ll talk about how I meal plan.
The benefits of meal planning are incredible and even if you have no weight to lose, there are other benefits to take into consideration!
Here are my Top 10 benefits of meal planning:
Carving out time to plan meals based on my family’s busy schedule does save me money. If we’re busy with sports one night, I plan portable or a quick cooking meal. It curbs those last minute drive thru stops. It also eliminates many mid-week grocery shopping trips.
By planning out my meals, I am more apt to eat at home. Since I control everything when eating at home, I almost automatically eat healthier. And because I track my macros, eating at home is WAY easier to track my intake.
My kids watch me plan, they watch me create shopping lists, they get to provide input and if time allows, they get to help cook on occasion. These are all teachable moments and I get good mom points. And anyone who knows me knows I need these bonus points wherever and whenever I can grab them! Beyond the needed mom points, I’m trying to instill good habits that they can fall back on someday.
Waste Less Food
I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve had a few meltdowns due to dinner dilemmas. Between at least one kid complaining, me being tired, and having no clue what to make, I’ve had an adult dinner meltdown. More than once. So, with planning my meals two weeks out, I often print out the calendar and put it on our family wall and everyone knows what we are having when. All the complaining can happen at one time! Win-win!
Trying New Things
When you plan ahead, you can carve out one night to try a new recipe. If you have kids, maybe this is one they get to pick. Or, if you want to push your boundaries, plan one night to step out of your comfort zone and try a new recipe.
By carving out a block of time to plan things out, you’ll reward yourself with more time during the week with less trips shopping, less time staring in freezer/fridge, and potentially less time cooking. Prepping some things ahead of time will expedite cooking even more!
Heck, beyond feeling organized, you WILL be organized. It’s a great way to kick off a week. You know what you’re eating, when and you can devote energy to other facets of your life.
There are no rules to meal planning. You create what you want based on your family’s tastes, preferences and schedules. Sometimes I’ll thrown in a breakfast for dinner and the kids LOVE it. Sometimes, I’ll make double of a recipe earlier in the week for later, so all I have to do is heat and serve. There are no rules! Do what works for your family.
Creating Freezer Meals
Now, I don’t go out of my way to make sure I have a recipe that I can double and freeze for later in the month. BUT, I will look at my recipes and see if a recipe lends itself to being frozen for later. If so, I’ll double that recipe and freeze it. Later in the month, I’m so much happier to have a freezer meal to just pull out, and heat up. Homemade Bolognese is one of my favorites to do this with. Lasagna or enchiladas are other options I incorporate when I can.