Have you ever opened up a fridge packed with food and had no idea what to make? What about those times when you buy all sorts of ingredients and they start to go bad before you use them? Have you found yourself making the same 3-5 dishes every week for a year because it was the easy thing to do? I know that we have. We have experienced all of these moments in our home and decided it was time to make some changes. In my first post of this two part series, I share 5 reasons to start meal planning with your family and how this small change in your routine will create big changes in your life. In my next post, I’ll share all the details of weekly meal planning from my experiences and how to get the whole family involved in the process.
Five Reasons to Meal Plan
While I am not going to delve into nutritional philosophy here, I will say that regardless of your philosophy, taking the time to plan your meals is going to lead to a healthier and more purposeful life.
Below are five great reasons to take the time to plan your meals each week, as well as, the benefits you will experience because you did.
1. Set yourself up for Success
It’s a lot easier to make healthy meals when you have the ingredients to make them. It seems like a simple idea and it is. When you have good food in your fridge, you can make healthy meals and snacks. When you don’t, you are more likely to eat out or make unhealthy food choices. When you meal plan, you have a fridge that is stocked with goodness and a bunch of ideas on what to make. After a long day of work, you come home with the mindset of making something fresh and delicious. In this way, meal planning is setting you up for success to make healthy choices.
2. Waste Less
When you meal plan, you waste less. You don’t let food get old in the fridge because you forgot it was there or weren’t sure how to use a particular item for a meal. You also waste less money because everything you purchase is put to good use. You aren’t spending and wasting. You become more conscious of how you spend and where you spend. In our experience, meal planning has helped us use the food we have in our fridge. We make sure items are not getting old or moldy and going from the fridge to the trash (something we feel terrible doing).
3. Question and Become more Aware
When you start to meal plan, you’ll see that you become more conscious of what you are eating and what you are buying. You begin to question life long eating habits that you never thought to question before. You question where your food is coming from, how it’s made and what the ingredients are. This awareness is going to add a lot of value to your life. Once we started to meal plan, I became even more grateful for the fresh food we eat everyday and the possibility to eat food from local farming communities.
4. Take Control of your Health
When you meal plan, you take control of your food choices and in turn your health. What we are is what we eat. Regardless of your food philosophy (pescatarian, raw vegan, paleo, etc.), I think most of us can agree that processed foods don't do good things for our bodies. When you take the time to make meals from real and fresh items of food (veggies, fruits, legumes, etc.), you see a change in your health. You become more energetic, happier and healthier. We have experienced this since our meal planning journey began and have really upped our fresh veggie and fruit intake and now minimally and selectively purchase items that can be placed in a cabinet.
5. Bring Family back into Mealtime
How many of us prepare a meal as a family and really sit down to share a meal together? Planning weekly meals and snacks is going to give you the possibility to bring your whole family back into mealtime. You’ll be able to task each family member (whoever your family is made up of) with a different meal planning responsibility from helping research recipes to making the meals. You’ll get the whole family involved in a fun activity that benefits everyone.
I’d love to hear from you and why you’re ready to begin the meal planning journey.
In my next post, I’ll share my insights into the meal planning process, as well as, what to look out for.
Keep well, S