It seems that in the mom community, meal planning is perceived to one of two extremes. Either it is absolutely the best thing to happen since sliced bread (it was actually around way before sliced bread), or it is loathed entirely.
Either way you look at it, when you actually sit down and think about it, there are many, many benefits of meal planning.
These benefits have been what has caused me to start meal planning in my home, and while it is tedious at times, it is so very worth it
Why you ask?
Meal Planning Saves you $$Money$$
One of the biggest benefits of meal planning, (and the biggest reason I started doing it), is that it saves you money.
And who doesn’t want to save money?
Meal planning not only saves you money because you are not grabbing take out, but it also saves you mullah in the grocery store too!
I do not know about you, but prior to starting meal planning, my family was eating out at LEAST once a week. Now, we are down to maybe twice a month. Considering we spent on average $30 (on cheap nights) to eat takeout, that saves us at least $60 a month!
When you are meal planning, you also go into the grocery store with a list. (something I never did in the past. Who needs a stupid list anyway? **Slowly raises hand while avoiding eye contact**) The list helps to keep you on task and buying what your family needs, instead of what you think they might need (but will never eat). You list also ensures that you get everything you need from the grocery store in one trip, as opposed to buying a few things now, and then making 4 more trips over the next week.
Yeah, that is a thing.
Meal Planning Saves your Sanity
Tired of hearing “What’s for dinner?” 15 times a day? What if I told you that one of the benefits of meal planning was that DAD would be able to answer that question?
And that is only one way that meal planning is going to save your sanity!
When I meal plan, I ensure to post my monthly (sometimes biweekly) meal plan schedule on the refrigerator where everyone in the house can see it. This helps to cut down on the endless questions of what we are having for dinner.
This also helps me to know first thing in the morning how much time I need to be allotting to dinner prep for that night. Will I be starting something in the crockpot at noon, or cooking once kids are picked up from school and everyone is back at home? I now know by 8am which it will be.
Also, remember that grocery list I was talking about? Guess how at peace with yourself you feel once you complete you shopping trip and have everything on your list?
Knowing that your grocery shopping is DONE and you do not have to go back to the grocery store again for at least 24 hours does wonders for your sanity!
Meal Planning Reduces time in the Kitchen
So since I began my own meal planning journey, I have quickly come to the realization that I really enjoy cooking.
I enjoy cooking when I do not have to spend all day in the kitchen.
It may sound kind of arbitrary, but actually think about it. How much time do you spend each day wondering aimlessly around your kitchen trying to come up with something to cook?
If you are like me, the answer is way too freaking long.
This is another of the great benefits of meal planning, as when you already know what you are making, you do not spend unnecessary time scouting for what you could have for dinner.
Meal Planning Provides more Family Time
So as you are now spending less time in the kitchen, guess what that means?
More time with your family of course! (Or maybe more time to hide in the closet and drink a glass bottle of wine. I’m not judging)
Not only do you have more time to spend with your family, but it is also so much simpler to incorporate your children into cooking time when you know what you are making ahead of time! (This task may require more wine if you are like me, but I digress.)
Meal Planning Means Less Food Waste
Another of the great benefits of meal planning? You will have so much less food waste!
If you are anything like me, you get to open the refrigerator once a month to find all of the spoiled produce.
(I really did have good intentions.)
With meal planning however, since you are going to the store with a specified list, you do not end up with a bunch of dead good intentions. This is even more helpful when your husband is no longer looking in your refrigerator making comments on the broccoli that you let turn. Again.
Meal Planning also Means Healthier Eating
This benefit to meal planning really should be obvious. When you start meal planning, your whole family starts eating healthier.
#1- Because you quit eating out, and cut out the fast food. If you sit and look at the nutritional value of the burger and fries you get from your local joint every Wednesday night, you might be appalled. Personally, I found that making burgers and fries at home is half the cost, half the calories, and none of the grease.
#2- When you take the time to plan out your meals, you do not have to turn immediately to the most processed foods to make a quick dinner happen. Fresh fruits, veggies, and meats start to take the place of processed foods in your home.
Momma, I am here to tell you, it is like magic!
So, what are you waiting for?
I know, I know, it still seems like a lot of work. But I promise you, once you take the couple hours to sit down and meal plan for the first time, you too will see the benefits!
For those of you who are already meal planning, do you have additional benefits to add? If you are not yet planning, what is holding you back? Let me know below!
If you enjoyed this post, check out my recent post about 11 apps to make you money today!