Meal Planning sucks, right? It takes time, it takes effort and you are already too tired to even think about what to make for dinner. Trust me, I get it. This is where I was even just one year ago. Figuring out what to eat for dinner, is a huge stressor (unless you absolutely love to cook and find it relaxing). What’s the solution to this? Meal planning (so I was told)! Ugh, can’t someone just do it for me?
Here’s the thing, yes meal planning sucks, but I have realized there are some pretty convincing reasons to start meal planning. If I had known these benefits (and really believed the person telling me), it would have saved me so much stress over the years.
Why Start Meal Planning Today?
1. Meal planning dramatically decreases stress.
Imagine having your whole month of meals planned out, all the ingredients are in your pantry (there is no question if you have the right stuff to make the meal you want) and you don’t have to decide anything when you get home from work.
Aah! It’s magical, right?! Well, you can have this! I know it seems impossible, but I can also tell you how to effectively meal plan. Once you get going with it (and stick with it), it completely changes your life.
Making decisions ahead of time will eliminate any mealtime stress you used to have in your life. There will no longer be a long silence (where you are throwing daggers with your mind) when your husband asks you, “What’s for dinner?”
2. You will be much more likely to stick to your budget when you follow a meal plan.
How many times have you decided to hit the drive-thru or go out to eat because you couldn’t decide what to have for dinner? Or, nothing sounds good and you have a cupboard full of food, but nothing to eat? I am betting too many times to count.
Having a meal plan means there is no question of what’s for dinner. Everyone can just look at the calendar and know what they will be eating. This will decrease the number of times you hear, “nothing sounds good, do you want to just go to ___?” Try meal planning for 3 months and keep track of how little you are actually eating out. That alone will likely save you hundreds every month!
Incorporating freezer meals or stretching leftovers will also keep you on budget every month. The temptation to go out to eat will be decreased dramatically when you know you already have everything you need at home.
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3. When you meal plan, you will actually use all the ingredients you have at home.
Instead of having tons of weird condiments in your fridge or odd-ball cans of things in your pantry, you will have ingredients that go with specific meals. I find it so satisfying (probably in a nerdy way) to look in my cupboard at the end of a month and see we have utilized almost every ingredient.
Instead of spending money on ingredients/items you may use for a meal someday, you will have a very specific grocery list. All the items you are buying serve a purpose, thus serving your budget. Nothing will be purchased and wasted.
4. Meal planning gives you a plan!!
Seems redundant, but I’m totally serious. This is a plan and it is awesome (I also completely nerd out about planning)!
When you meal plan, everything is written down and scheduled so there is no question about what is happening. Everyone in your household will know exactly what meal is happening on what day. Your family won’t bug you as much about dinner and that is a great thing!
That’s all I need to say about this one. It’s a plan, yay!
CHECK OUT MY SIMPLIFIED WEEKLY MEAL PLAN TO GET YOU STARTED.
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5. Your husband can follow the meal plan without asking you questions
This is gold. If you have the same conversation every single day. You know this conversation:
What’s for dinner?
I don’t know I didn’t have time to think about that while I was at work, so what sounds good?
Okay, what do we have that we can make?
Do you just want to order pizza?
Meal planning is the solution!
I have probably had that exact conversation with my husband 1 million times. Now, with meal planning, if he gets home before me he can look at the calendar and start getting dinner ready. I don’t get asked that question anymore (it truly makes my blood pressure increase), and that is amazing!
Meal planning will give your husband the plan to follow and the confidence to know he is making a meal everyone will enjoy (or at least what you okayed).
6. Meal planning every month will eventually become automated
Now that I have been meal planning for almost one year, I am finding it has become easier and easier. Setting up a month of meals is not easy at first. After a few months of doing this, you can then have a rotation of meals already written up.
A new month of meals can be scheduled by taking some from each month and mixing up the order. This requires less and less thinking and effort the more you do it. Eventually, you can just develop a working rotation for your months.
We currently do this and just swap out meals pending on the season. Example, we are less in the mood for chili in the summer, but love grilled burgers!
Have I convinced you yet to start meal planning? I wish I had known all of the benefits I would see from doing this because I would have started way sooner.
Meal planning will lower your stress level, help you stick to a budget, not waste ingredients and have a plan. You won’t have to worry about hurting your husband when he asks “What’s for dinner?” After a few months, you can actually kind of go on auto-pilot and put minimal effort into meal planning.
Try this for 1 month and let me know what it changes in your life!
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