Meal Planning Part 1 - Why you need to start meal planning today!
Ever found yourself standing at the fridge at 5 pm with no idea what to make for supper?
Yep, this has happened to me MORE times than I can count!
Today on the blog, we are talking meal planning.
Meal planning is just like it sounds: it's being organized and having a plan on what to eat & what to cook. Easy enough, right?
But why should you meal plan?
Oh, let me count the ways!
To be honest, I'm not the perfect meal planner. Some weeks, we are on the ball and have a plan in place. Other weeks, not so much. And it's those "other weeks" that can be so stressful!
This week on the blog, let's chat about all the great reasons to start meal planning!
1: Cut the stress
Having a plan in place for what you're going to cook & eat will help cut the stress that comes from last minute shenanigans to figure out what to cook. It can be stressful to have to come up with a meal idea, to figure out if you have all the ingredients, and then to have to trudge to the grocery store, toddlers in tow, to grab what you need!
2: Save money
Have you ever had a moment where you're heading home from work and realize there's nothing to make for supper, so you make a quick stop to grab fast food for supper? Nope, probably has never happened!
Having a meal plan in place means you've already got a plan in place for supper - no need to stop & grab fast food! Heck, you may even have that said meal cooking in the slow cooker and be ready to eat when you walk in the door!
A good meal plan will "plan" for using what you've got in the fridge, freezer, and pantry.
All in all, having a plan will help you save money!
A added bonus to meal planning: by spending less money on eating out and by not buying "too much", you'll be able to afford more nutrient dense local options like vegetables & meat from your local farmer.
3: Save time
Yes, meal planning does take a bit of time. But once you start using that muscle, it will get easier over time.
And in the end, you'll save time from less trips to the grocery store, less time trying to figure out a meal idea, and, if you can incorporate it, you can save time by batch cooking (cooking multiple meals at one time).
4: Less waste
A Canadian statistic showed that an average Canadian has 79 kg of food waste each year. That's a staggering statistic!
What makes up that waste?
Expired bread & dairy products, fruit & veggies found decaying in the fridge, leftovers put out to pasture.
If you head to the grocery store with a plan, it will help you to not buy "too much". If you keep your plan handy, you'll be reminded about the things you planned to eat and, in the end, less food will likely be thrown out at the end of the week.
Incorporating a plan for leftovers will help reduce the "fridge clean-out" each week! Over the past few years, we've made a point to plan our leftovers right into our meal plan. There's so many ways to get creative with leftovers so it doesn't feel like you're eating the same thing over and over! That's a whole other blog post coming in the future!
5: Make better food choices (aka. eat healthier!)
You know those days when you just grab what's handy to eat or cook and don't really think about the overall day?
Those are the days that I've ended up eating mostly carbs - because, well, frankly, they're easy!
Having a meal plan allows you to incorporate those fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and meats into your diet. Having an "overall" vision of the week or month can help you incorporate lots of nutrient dense foods into your meals.
6. More fun!
Dare I say, meal planning can truly make cooking and eating fun!
Don't think of meal planning as another chore. Grab your favorite recipe books & your house mates, and have some fun! Let everyone pick a meal they love to add to the meal plan. Maybe even "plan" for them to prepare that said meal too!
Having a few recipe books on hand is a great way to get inspired as you meal plan! Those larger than life photos of delicious meals makes it easy to choose recipes.
You'll have fun trying new recipes and of course, taste testing them! A meal plan allows you to incorporate new recipes and to ensure you've got the ingredients on hand to make them.
Next week on the blog, we'll chat more about the "nitty gritty" of meal planning. For now, check out the recipes on the blog or in the Instagram highlights for recipes and meal inspiration!