I had attempted meal planning several times over the years, but it never stuck. It takes time and effort - two things I didn't always have. Since I work full-time now, I need to be very intentional to make good decisions. Meal planning is one of those good decisions.
I've been meal planning three years now, and though I've yet to really perfect it, I would say I'm getting there. There is such a satisfaction I find in it that I've never known before! This may come across quite strong for a topic such as meal planning, but I don't know how else to express myself right now!
Meal planning helps me with so many things. I'll let you see for yourself:
Updated June 2019
I aim to make as few trips to the grocery store as possible. Once a week max! Having a list that keeps me on track not only reduces the time I spend in the store, but the number of extra trips to go because of forgotten items. It’s all in the plan.
Because I'm making less trips a month to the store, I'm spending less! How? Well besides gas money, if I go to the store to pick up one thing, my eye might catch something else that I end up buying. My quick stop ends up costing much more than intended, and that adds up over time. In the same way, if I forget something, I'm more likely to have to pay a visit to a convenience store where prices are much higher. This is also why I bring a shopping list with me, and why I leave my husband at home :)
It Helps Me Be Decisive
This has to do with time, but I decided to make it an extra heading. I am extremely indecisive. You would not believe how long I could stand in the kitchen staring at nothing to decide what I should make for dinner. I am the most indecisive person I know! If I didn't meal plan, by the time I would decide on what I want to make, I would already be starving, too lazy to cook, and prone to have trail mix for dinner - or nothing at all. Which would be the best case!
Related: How I Meal Plan
I Feel More Prepared & At Ease
As much as I love cooking, I do not feel like doing it every day of the week. I am a busy teacher and the last thing I want to do after a long day at school is to be in the kitchen the whole evening. I like to prepare freezer meals that can be put into the crock pot or in the oven on days I know I will be busy or unmotivated (or not even home for dinner!). I include these in my meals plans! They are also great in a pinch when life throws the occasional curve ball. Because it’s life. Of course curve balls will be thrown!
I Can Make Better Food Choices
I will admit that I'm not always the most motivated person. If I didn't meal plan, it would be easier to just grab high caloric foods to satisfy my hunger, as opposed to choosing foods that also satisfy my nutritional needs. Meal planning allows me to be intentional about what I feed myself and others, making sure what I eat will benefit my body and life!
Grab my free meal planning guide if you want help starting out with a food plan. In it, I include my basic shopping staples list (which is pretty and functional) and even a sample meal plan.
So there you have it: a few reasons I choose to meal plan.
What about you? Do you meal plan? Would you like to start?
In this post here, I talk a bit more about meal planning and my process.