The struggle of cooking is real. It is just not cooking, it is the writing of the grocery list, driving to the store, shopping with a mask on, buying your groceries, prepping, chopping, and then cooking. You spend maybe 30-minutes eating, then you have to clean up. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
We all plan to eat. Some of us plan just minutes before we eat, the week before or a day before. Is your plan hitting the drive-thru or calling for take-out? We probably all have at least one recent experience of finding ourselves in a food emergency because we didn’t plan to eat. Waiting until the last minute to decide what to eat can lead to poor food choices, unnecessary stress, and over-spending on food. Maybe an argument or two due to being hangry.
Hitting the closest restaurant chain isn’t the option it uses to be. And take-out could be taking a chunk out your food budget. Meal planning still involves prepping and cooking, but you’ll be able to eliminate the stress that comes with last-minute meals and actually enjoy your home-cooked meals.
It’s time to get savvy about meal planning.
We all have hurdles when it comes to making the time to meal plan. Does one of these sound familiar; I don’t have the time, it stresses me out, tried it and it didn’t work… When we don’t plan what to eat we end up making reactive and spontaneous food choices. When you add meal planning into your lifestyle you will build a habit of eating a well-balanced, nutritious, real food diet that will lead to a healthy you.
BENEFIT #1 - SAVE TIME
Meal planning saves time. Yes, it takes time, but more often you will find that you spend less time acquiring food if you have a plan. Think about it, it’s dinner time after a very long day and you haven’t thought about what you’re going to eat. Your stomach is telling you it’s past time and now you have to spend time deciding what to eat, make or going to get that food, and eating it. When you meal plan, you aren’t starting from scratch, you don’t have to decide, make, or buy. You have what you need on hand to eat.
Meal planning can be an efficient and fast process. With a little time and practice, it can be done in 30 minutes per week, maybe less.
BENEFIT #2 - SAVE MONEY
Meal plans also save money. When you don’t have a plan, you are more likely to make impulse purchases or buy what you already have. When you have a plan, you purchase the food that you need and are going to actually going to eat. Incorporating savvy strategies, like keeping an inventory of what you have on hand, you can save money and limit what you throw out.
BENEFIT #3 - EAT BETTER
Waiting to figure out what to eat at the end of a long day, sucks. It’s just one more decision that you have to make so you end up in a food emergency. You are more than likely to end up of one of the following scenarios.
1) “I’m too hangry, I need to eat now.” When you are hungry and don’t have a plan, you end up hitting the drive-thru or restaurant. You end up with double size order of a larger portion than what you need or would have at home.
2) “I’ll just make something quickly.” Quick food ends up being something in a package. I guess it is frozen pizza or cereal again. When we don’t plan, we end up with an unbalanced dinner that is probably full of processed carbs.
Take away the stress, guesswork, and last-minute decisions by setting aside a little time to plan what to shop for and plan to eat for the week. This will help you reach your health and nutrition goals faster.
Meal planning does take a bit of time upfront but it’s an investment of time that ends up saving time and money and makes healthy eating easier.
Hello! I'm Jori Zimmerman, a nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Savvy. I work with individuals that are looking to make dietary and lifestyle changes that will lead them to living a healthier and higher quality of life.