Do you meal plan? Have you thought about starting a meal plan? I want to share with you the benefits of having a meal planning routine. These aren’t just benefits I’ve Googled; these are actual benefits I’ve seen first-hand in our family since creating and sustaining a meal planning routine. Check out the write-up below (or watch the video with the same information if that’s easier) to encourage you to consider a meal planning routine as we close out 2020 and head into 2021.
Picture the following scenario: you’re standing in the kitchen after another long and stressful day, and you have no clue what to feed your family. You’re trying to take a breath and think clearly, but you hear your stomach growl, and your kid just declared that they’re hungry for the fifth time. You decide after standing stationary for too many minutes to count that it’s time to rummage through the pantry, fridge, and freezer for anything you can piece together that will pass as dinner. You see expired milk, dried out leftovers, a frozen lasagna that your growling stomach is telling you will take too long to cook, and a boxed dinner that requires more energy than you have to make. You come out of the pantry feeling defeated and decide once again to just call in an order for Dominoes (or insert your favorite take out).
Now picture that same original set up of the first scenario, but let’s say you created a meal plan for the week over the weekend and even decided to batch cook a couple of recipes. All you have to do is open the fridge, decide on one of the 2 meals you prepared, heat up servings, and sit down for dinner with your family.
Which scenario would you rather have play out for you? If having a plan around feeding your family is what you desire, let me tell you about four benefits our family has experienced by having a meal planning routine.
Benefit #1: Save Money
You will save money by knowing ahead of time what you’ll be cooking, and you’ll have your grocery list ready to go. You can even create a grocery list on the Meal Planning Trello Board I have available for you to add ingredients from recipes and any other staples you need to buy. Here’s a statistic I want you to digest: American households spend an average of $3,000 eating out per year! Think about the money you could save by planning meals ahead of time so that you’re not starving and frantic at 5pm and tempted to just call in a to-go order.
Benefit #2: Save Time
Who here has stood in the kitchen for too many minutes to count trying to figure out what to cook that night for dinner? I know I’ve been that mom before! No more wandering the grocery aisles without a list just throwing random products in your cart hoping they’ll turn into acceptable dinners only to end up forgetting about what you bought and having those items go bad. Instead of starting a recipe from scratch at 5pm, you can save time by planning ahead. Maybe for your family that means throwing some ingredients in a slow cooker that morning to have ready by dinner or maybe it means batch-cooking a few recipes over the weekend to heat and eat throughout the week. Having a plan will without fail save you time no matter what meal planning method is best for your family in the season of life you’re in.
Benefit #4: Better Health
Instead of deciding for yet another night to grab take-out, you have a plan for what dinner will be that night, and you’ve created steps to make it the easy choice. Coming up with a plan before you’re starving, overwhelmed, and ready to eat the entire pantry allows you to think clearly about what choices you want to make. When you’re not stressed and overwhelmed, you’re more likely to make a plan with health in mind.
Benefit #4: Reduce Stress
Routines allow you to take action automatically, therefore you don’t have to go through the process of deciding what to feed your family day in and day out. Meal Planning Routines do just that! You plan ahead and don’t have to waste mental energy coming up with a meal last-minute. When your kids ask what’s for dinner and when are we eating, you’ll know because of the plan you made instead of not knowing how to respond and listening to them continually nag about dinner.
To recap, having a meal planning routine can save you money, save you time, improve your health, and reduce your stress. Does meal planning sound like something you’d like to try? I realized that not having a plan around feeding my family was stressing me out and wasting time that could be spent on other priorities. I had ideas in my head for the week, but I didn’t take the time to think through those ideas to make our week less chaotic and easier when it came to meals.
I decided to take charge of this issue by creating a weekly meal planning routine. I utilize Trello for my meal planning routine; Trello is a free digital tool that allows you to easily create lists and view on multiple devices. When I go to meal plan, I view tons of recipes I’ve already loaded into Trello, type in ideas, even if it’s throwing together some almond butter sandwiches on a Sunday to throw in the freezer for easy lunch options, and then I create a plan for the week ahead. I even utilize ingredients to create a grocery list within the Trello Board.
This meal planning routine has been an ultimate time-saver, money-saver, and sanity-saver during our week! Are you looking to make meal planning easier? I have a FREE Trello Meal Planning template with the exact list categories I use that you can utilize to create a plan, add in recipes, and finally take control of the chaos around feeding your family. I also have an inexpensive option for this life-changing process around meals that has been loaded with 358 recipes within easy-to-view categories. Each recipe includes a picture, ingredients, instructions, notes, and any applicable links to recipe sources. If you’re new to Trello, no worries, as I’ve included instructions on how to utilize the board!
I’d love to help you start a meal planning routine to lessen feeling overwhelmed so that mealtimes can be more joyful. Get started now with this meal planning routine.