Whether you’re a busy professional who is focused on work or a mother caring for and meeting the essential requirements of three children and a spouse, it can be challenging to come up with specific meals to prepare and eat every day. Implementing some type of meal planning strategy can help you save time. You may even start eating healthier and save some money.
Meal Planning Can Help Save Time
Getting home after spending time at work or the gym may leave you tired and unenthused to fix a meal. Opening your refrigerator and looking at last night’s leftovers may not be too appealing. The same situation occurs with many families who demand variety and something to eat in between soccer practice or completing homework.
Having to prepare food daily for yourself or a family may even be frustrating and stressful. Planning your meals is likely to help with this task, which can help save you time, so you’re not standing in front of the fridge wondering what to cook.
Hearing the insistent voices of hungry children asking when dinner is going to be ready may make you want to drive to the nearest fast-food restaurant and take care of your children’s hunger pangs quickly.
Taking this action is also a decision frequently made if you have just finished eight hours at your accounting job and don’t feel like going to the grocery and preparing a meal. Meal planning can help alleviate this challenge and also provide you with a healthier alternative packed with foods containing nutrient-rich ingredients.
Saving You Money
Another benefit of meal planning becomes apparent when you look at your checking account and notice you’ve got extra money at the end of the month. Eating out can be expensive. Planning your meals allows you to choose specific ingredients and keep your costs even lower by purchasing items in bulk. Shopping like this can help save you a few more dollars each month that can be used for other essentials or entertainment. Having a grocery list to work off of also helps you avoid the habit of impulse buying when you’re shopping for food.
Avoiding Wasteful Habits
Going to the grocery store with a strategy in place can also help you avoid wasting food. Purchasing only the food you need to use for specific recipes should help ensure you don’t end up with extra food in your fridge sitting there spoiling because it’s not being used. Having a purpose for every food item you buy should help clear up any unwanted waste and make it easier to meet the needs of you or anyone in your family requiring a specific diet.
Planning Around Specific Diets or Individual Preferences Can Be Challenging
Coming up with daily meals can be difficult by itself, but when you’re following a vegan diet or have a spouse who is trying to eat a low-carb diet that doesn’t fit in with the eating habits of the rest of the family, it makes it tough to create a variety of meals regularly.
If you’re single, you know the type of food you like to eat, but it can still be challenging to be disciplined when you’re trying to follow a vegan or keto diet plan continuously, especially if you’re busy. Fixing meals for a family maybe even more challenging when a child requires dairy-free foods to stay healthy. Meal planning makes performing this task easier and more efficient. If a new recipe is tried, it can be added to a weekly plan if you or your family approves it.
Moving Past Meal Planning Roadblocks
Several individuals have trouble planning meals. Utilizing a few tips can help make it easier. If you’re beginning the process of planning out your meals, include a day for takeout and one day for leftovers. Focusing on dinners and not worrying about lunch or breakfast can also help give you a good start. Preparing just two or three dinners helps you start small until you get into a good routine.
Finding Time to Shop and Prep Meals
Coming up with a schedule for shopping and cooking meals is different for everybody. While several individuals perform this task on weekends, you may be extremely busy on both Saturday and Sunday.
Analyzing your schedule should help you discover a few free moments where you can shop for the food items required to create your planned meals. During summer, you might be extremely busy having fun on the weekends with friends. Discovering you have enough time on Tuesday before picking up the kids from basketball practice may be the designated period when you get your shopping done.
Having a Backup Plan Ready to Create Quickly
A week can go by quickly and result in running out of ingredients by Saturday evening. If you’ve used up the beef and onions that were planned for a meal and don’t have enough time to run to the grocery store, it can help to have a backup plan. Keeping some chicken, pasta and tomato sauce available can help you come up with a simple meal to fill in the gap created by running out of a few extra ingredients.
Utilizing Custom Meal Planning
Another option you can take is to use a service providing personalized recipes catered to low-carb, keto, vegan, gluten-free or just about any type of diet. Using the service provided by a company like platejoy.com makes it easier to come up with custom meal plans. They provide the ability to create tasty and nutritional meals that can be made by utilizing a smart grocery list.
There’s also an optional grocery delivery feature, which can help save you time and provide the health goals and dietary restrictions you or one (or more) of your family members require. Having access to unlimited recipes tailored to the foods you like to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner should make it more efficient and easier to prepare the meals you require.
Taking the time to plan meals for you or your family can help save time, provide healthier options and other benefits. Be patient – just like anything else you will get better at meal planning the more you do it and the next thing you know you will be helping the next person who is feeling overwhelmed by the process.