As summer vacation draws to a close, our days are picking up the tempo, becoming increasingly busier. Amidst the hassle of all our daily chores, the act of deciding what to eat, grocery shopping, making food, all while trying to make sure it’s all still healthy and nutritious, is its own battle. This is where a good ol’ meal plan comes flying to the rescue, so put down that Chinese take out menu.
Having a set meal plan comes with a myriad of benefits, such as cutting down on food costs, saving you time and stress, and making it easier to keep a nutritious variety in your diet.
- Save Money
Eating out at restaurants will always be more expensive than making your own meals, so savings are happening already just by doing your own cooking. With a set meal plan, you know exactly what to buy when you go grocery shopping, and can more easily avoid impulse purchases of foods that you might want to eat, but will probably just sit in the fridge until it goes bad. With a meal plan, you can strategically include food that’s already in your fridge, such as leftovers or produce that might be close to expiring, instead of wasting money by throwing out that food a few days later.
- Save Time
Skip the “hmm…what should I cook today? Nah, not that…” portion of your day by getting right down to the cooking part! That’s a few minutes, at least, that you get back per day. Plus, you don’t have to spend as long as the grocery store if you know exactly what you’re shopping for, as opposed to meandering about, seeking inspiration. Additionally, having a set meal plan for your week allows you to think ahead and cook in batches – if you know you’ll want brown rice to accompany your dinner today and tomorrow, you can cook larger portions and set part of it aside in the fridge for the next day!
- Keep it Varied and Healthy
Planning ahead for your meals can prevent you from falling back to eating the same thing almost every day because you couldn’t decide on anything else. So instead of a sandwich three days in a row, plan on baked salmon with a side salad to mix it up! When you see your week’s menu written down, it’s easier to see where meals can seem imbalanced, and thus, easier to adjust. Making your own meals, as opposed to ordering in, grants you the control of what ingredients you’re using – you can ensure you’re using the best, healthiest products.