Why people think meal planning is important might vary from person to person based on the what they value the most but no question most people see meal planning as a good practice that if done properly will have positive practical results but also aspirational benefits.
Why would you include another activity like meal planning in your to-dos list if you were not thinking of having positive results? after all we want to see the benefits of planning our meals, particularly when we keep realistic goals in mind.
Meal planning might seem structured, time-consuming or overdoing it but the reality is far from that.
On the contrary, meal planning is important because it helps you with the practical aspect of meal preparation from knowing what to cook, saving you money, reducing food waste and more.
No doubt both practical and aspirational aspects are important, so here we listed 12 reasons why meal planning is important:
Meal planning is a great way to save money on your food budget. People who plan their meals and cook at home could save between $10 to $15 per meal per person, which is equivalent to saving between $500 to $800 a year per meal per person.
By planning your meals you organize and control your grocery expenses avoiding buying more than what you need or even spending money on ingredients you will not use at all.
There are a few ways to approach your meal plan, for example, you can approach it by what you want to eat, how much time you want to spend in cooking, but also you can approach it by your weekly food budget. So, if shopping for groceries on a budget is important for you then meal planning is a must-try.
Meal planning is important because it helps you save time, you will even notice it at the first week of planning your meals.
When it comes to saving time, meal planning is a great tool, it helps you organize and being more efficient at time-consuming activities such as searching for recipes or creating grocery lists, not to mention the time you save by reducing the number of times you go to the shop.
Time saving is a direct result of having things organized upfront. The few minutes you take to plan your meals in advance will help you save hours during the week.
Meal planning plays an important role in helping you reduce food waste.
Food waste reduction is important for an overall positive impact but as well because it has a direct impact on your financials.
Food waste causes a big impact to our environment, and household food waste contributes to the problem. Of course we do not want to throw away food but most of the time we do it because lack of planning.
Meal planning helps you be more efficient at deciding the quantities of meals you and your family will consume, and this keeps you from throwing away food.
Planning your meals is a great way for you to reduce food waste and save on your grocery bills while helping the environment.
We cannot understate how important meal planning is in facilitating a broader range of healthy meals in our menu, a range of healthy meals is necessary for a well-balanced diet.
You can enjoy the benefits of a balanced diet by adding food variety in your meal plan. You’ll find it’s simple and easy to do once you create a broad list of favorites healthy and balanced meals you can rely on.
Yes, you read it, meal planning is important because it helps you share the workload, the fact that you plan your meals by yourself, it does not mean that other people cannot help you with activities such as grocery shopping, meal preparation or cooking.
Meal planning makes it easier to share those tasks, what you need is to create a plan and share it with whoever can help you. For example, as part of your weekly meal plan you will create a grocery list you can handover to a family member to help you with shopping.
Another example is that you can ask for help if for a reason you cannot cook a meal during the week. As long as everyone know which meal needs to be cooked and the ingredients are available, it will be easier to share the task.
As you can see meal planning is a very useful tool to organize and share with family members asking for help.
Many people have different reasons to start meal planning, but no doubt that planning your meals is especially important when you are just starting cooking and your skills are not that good.
Improving cooking skills, as any other skill, is about practice, so you need to adopt a conscious but simple approach to go about it and planning your meal is the perfect way to do this. How? You could ask. Start at what you know best and expand from there.
For instance from knowing how to cook white rice, you could learn how to cook risottos. What about stir-fries? You could change the mix and change vegetables creating different meals, the point here is that you are using a cooking technique you are familiar and consciously choosing to cook different meals while improving your cooking skills.
Choosing consciously your meals based on your cooking skills and organizing what you need to cook them requires help and here is where meal planning is important. It makes it easier for you to schedule those meals so you can cook them at the most convenient time which at the end of the day you improve your cooking skills.
It’s time to cook and you don’t know what to prepare, or even worst you don’t have the ingredients you need in your pantry or fridge but you need to put dinner on the table in the next hour. You are feeling frustrated and stressed.
Regardless whether you need to cook for your family or just for yourself, cooking, when you are not prepared, can be stressful. That is why meal planning is the favorite approach for many people who wants to have things organized and get rid of the stress that comes from not being ready.
You may think meal planning is too structured, but it does not have to be. It is a simple and a great way to organize meals, grocery lists and recipes and as a result you enjoy eating them with your family.
Trying to come up with new healthy recipes every week can be daunting. Wouldn’t it be great to have an approach to organize a list of meals you will cook during the next two weeks?
That approach exist, and it’s called meal planning. Meal planning is a set-and-forget approach that is important to eliminate the decision fatigue of what to cook. Create a list of meals once a week or fortnightly, so you don’t have to constantly decide what to have for dinner.
Learning in the kitchen is not just about learning how to cook. Whether you are a new or experienced cook, meal planning is important because it helps you with the whole meal preparation.
From discovering and planning meals, organizing grocery lists, managing your food budget, getting better at choosing the right ingredients, balancing your food and more, meal planning helps you gain the skills you need to be more efficient at providing healthy meals for you and your family.
Meal planning is particularly important if you are about to start an aspirational diet, such as the Paleo diet.
To find common ingredients and cook healthy meals is sometime cumbersome as it is. Now imagine trying to do the same while following a specific diet and still providing food for your family. Now that calls for some planning.
Poor planning is the main reason we find it difficult to follow diets, and that includes having unrealistic goals.
So, if you want to have better chances to succeed in your diet then meal planning is the way to go because it helps you address realistic goals into specific actions, like identifying the meals you need to prepare, creating a calendar when you want to cook them, creating a grocery list, scheduling your grocery shopping, creating a list of favorite meals aligned with your diet.
Meal planning organise things for you upfront which helps you stick to your diet when willpower is not at its best.
We all like to try new recipes, we aspire to create that perfect cake, roasted beef or risotto. Why not? After all, cooking is more of an art than a science and if that is something that appeals to you then you want to give yourself a chance to experiment with fresh recipes.
Now, new recipes will take more time in preparation and cooking. But you can make the best of it by meal planning, in that way you ensure you choose the right day of the week and also when you have the necessary ingredients you are going to use.
We’ve been there before, a busy day left us with no time and energy and now it is time to cook. We just want to get it done, but with no idea of what to cook we “treat” ourselves with processed or fast food meal.
Whether because you feel tired or because you do not have time, making poor food choices can get into a bad habit and affect your health and the health of your family.
So how to avoid or reduce the risk of poor food choices? The key is planning. We know we’ll have those situations where we’ll not have the time and energy, so a simple strategy like meal planning is important to ensure you’ll always have the ingredients you need to prepare healthy meals at home.
Meal planning begins deciding the meals you need and want to eat during the week.
By knowing in advance the meals you will prepare, and having the ingredients to prepare them, you’ll set yourself to make healthy meal choices and avoid poor food choices that can compromise your health.
If you expect a busy week ahead, you could plan quick meals, or share the cooking workload. There are plenty of quick but healthy meals you can prepare in less than 20 minutes, as long as you have planned and stoked the ingredients you need in advance.
And now that you know the importance of meal planning, set realistic goals and start planning your meals, don’t let the lack of knowledge or practice discourage you, remember the best meal planning approach is the one the works best for you.