There are lots of great benefits to healthy meal planning. There’s nothing better for improving your mood and lowering your stress, than getting home at the end of a long day and having dinner almost ready – either cooking away in your slow cooker or waiting for you in the refrigerator to be warmed and/or assembled in 30 minutes of less.
In addition to relieving stress, meal planning will also save you time and money and improve the quality of what you’re eating.
Granted, you need to invest some time up front in the planning, but the rewards make it so worth it.
Here are just a few of the Benefits of Healthy Meal Planning:
1. Saves Time. When you have a weekly meal plan you save time by avoiding last minute stops at the grocery store several times a week shopping for forgotten items and/or wandering the aisles hoping for some quick easy dinner inspiration that never seems to come.
And while meal planning, takes a little upfront time, with practice you get faster and more efficient at it.
2. Saves Money. Meal planning saves you money in several different ways. By planning out your meals each week, you can take advantage of grocery store sales and coupons. Fewer last minute stops at the store will help you avoid impulse purchases and the danger of buying too much that is always increased when you’re tired and hungry.
Meal plans can help you get creative with leftovers, turning them into new dishes, so they are less apt to go to waste.
In fact, planning for leftovers is a great way to save both time and money. For example just this week, I intentionally cooked extra lemon/pepper chicken breasts when we had them Sunday and then chopped them up and stirred them into a delicious creamy pasta with chicken and broccoli that we had last night. This cook once, eat twice approach can help you enjoy two completely different meals each week from some of the same foods, saving both money and time.
3. Improves Health. You know as well as I do, that what you eat has a direct effect on your health. Meal planning will improve your health by improving the quality of your meals. Healthy meal plans help you create meals that are so much better for you than than a steady diet of take out and/or fast food for dinner.
You can chose foods that are fresher and healthier including more fruits and vegetables, leaner proteins and more whole grains.
Have I helped convince you that getting into the habit of weekly healthy meal planning is worth it?
Like any new habit, it will take a little while to get into the groove of it. But, like anything else, the more you do it the easier and faster you will get at it. We are not talking about rocket science here. Meal planning is a whole lot simpler than that!
All you need to be successful with meal planning is a desire to reduce your stress, eat healthier, save time and money and enjoy healthy easy and delicious home cooked meals.
Then just sit down with your calendar, a few quick and easy recipes and the weekly grocery store sales circulars and outline a plan for what to have for dinner each night of the week for those nights you’ll be eating at home.
(Keep it simple. Think about quick and easy dinners with minimal ingredients, easy slow cooker meals and/or things that you can make once and then enjoy two or three times.)
Create your shopping list and then gather what you need to be ready for a week of great easy dinners with a lot less pain and stress.
Martha is a Healthy Weight Loss Coach and Cooking Coach who loves to share ways to make cooking and eating simple, easy, quick and delicious and help you stop dieting and instead discover the pleasure of happy healthy balanced eating, cooking and living. Sign up to receive her FREE Healthy Homemade Granola Bar Recipes eBooklet and future tips, techniques, ideas and easy recipes to help you live a healthier, happier more nourished life.