Are you having a hard time getting a healthy dinner on the table after a busy day? Perhaps you have a high stress level. Or, are you eating out more than you’d like, spending more money than you should? Maybe you are trying to shed a few pounds and just can’t quiiiiiteee seem to get them off. Weekly meal planning is the answer to your problems in every way. Seriously.
I spent some time doing a little field research. I asked specifically what ways meal planning has improved their lives. While I expected some of the responses I got, some of them surprised me. (I love when that happens!)
9 Ways Weekly Meal Planning Is The Key To Your Success
#1 Eat healthier
Not surprisingly, this answer was across the board. This was something that every single person mentioned. When you’re prepared, and shop for everything you need for the days planned, you are less likely to stop at a drive thru or reach for a bag of chips.
If you’re in a mind set to really take your health to a new level, you may be considering something like 21 day fix, or eating paleo, low carb, or looking into the Whole 30 diet. With any diet plan, cheating is a temptation and meal planning will help to keep you on track!
#2 Weight Loss and Increased Energy Levels
Of course, many people that have goals of eating healthier are also looking to lose some weight. That’s a nice side effect of eating healthier. Clean eating does wonders for the body! Whether losing weight is a goal or no, when you cut out unhealthy food your energy levels with skyrocket.
#3 You save time
Many of the women (of course men do this too, it just happens that no men answered my questions) that responded said they do a prep day. They take a couple hours and get everything chopped or marinated and organized. When everyone gets home, you can just dump it in a pan or heat it up. Either way, they aren’t spending precious time chopping and washing and organizing, because it’s already done.
Another way they save time is with batch cooking. This means they cook one thing to last a couple nights. This is one strategy I make use of frequently. Sometimes I put the second portion in the freezer for an extra day when I’m not as organized as I would like (It happens more than I’d like to admit)
#4 You save money
This answer was also given by just about every person. The variety of ways they saved money was impressive! When you plan you can see what might be on sale at your store, or what coupons you have, and use them to help.
Others planed several weeks in advance and bought in bulk at a big box store or if there was a sale somewhere. What they weren’t using right away that was perishable went in the freezer.
Many simple made a list and stuck to it. No impulse buying or guess work. AND, of course, if you plan ahead you only have to go to the store (hopefully) once or twice and you’re not buying extras because you have to go to the store every other day.
#5 You waste less food
In addition to saving money, you can check your fridge and pantry and see what you already have that might be on the menu this week. You can use what you have and not over buy.
#6 Spend more time with the people you love
Whether it’s with your kids and family at the end of a busy day or your best friends, being prepared will help you spend time with the important people in your life.
*Personal story* When I was still a single gal, I ran my own massage therapy business. I was working crazy hours, 7 days a week, trying to do everything myself. I have this one awesome friend, we’ll call her “J”. J has two small kids (well…they’re not so small now) and between the two of us, we had the hardest time figuring out schedules to hang out together. So we get on the phone and plan dinner for once a month, usually on a week night. She would say “I’ll make sure the washer is empty, bring the massage sheets and wash them here (my nightly ritual…laundry), we’ll have dinner and catch up” You know who the most dedicated meal planner I know is? J. Know what her key to success is? Weekly meal planning. She never misses an opportunity to see the people that are important to her.
#7 Get more things accomplished
Do you have a never ending to do list? Me too. When you aren’t spending your whole evening every night preparing food, you can get a few other things crossed off.
For example, breakfast smoothies prepped on sunday? Time for that yoga class or a run on a weekday morning. Have a couple days prepped in advance, you can catch up on that mountain of laundry. The list of examples could go on and on.
#8 Less Stress
So what happens when you’re fully prepared, getting sh*t done, saving money, spending time with your favorite people, and feeling your clothes fit a little better? All your stress melts away. See how that works? It’s beautiful! All from weekly meal planning.
When you stress less, you sleep better. When you sleep better, you wake up refreshed and prepared for the day, where you can get more stuff done, eat healthy food, spend time with people you love, and do it over and over and over. It’s the kind of cycle you want to have in your life.
I bet when you clicked on this article you didn’t think I meant that it affects your whole life, did you? But, the domino effect that comes from weekly meal planning is one that I think most people would love to have! Tell me in the comments, what are your favorite tricks and tips for meal planning?
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