I’ve been doing weekly meal planning since I was pregnant with my daughter. Oh, I’ve fallen out of the habit a few times here and there when I felt that I was “too busy and stressed out” to do it. But I quickly realized that I was too busy and stressed out NOT to meal plan because it actually HELPS alleviate the crazy busy times in my life. Even now, as an empty nester, menu planning is still an important aspect of creating the life I want.
Here’s Why I Make Weekly Meal Plans:
- It saves me money. I plan my meal plans around what’s in season (because it’s less expensive) and around the weekly sales flyers (because it’s less expensive). I also incorporate the use of leftovers in my plan to limit food being wasted.
- It saves me time. Once I have the plan in place (and it doesn’t have to take much time to put a plan together – I can show you how), I find that it is a breeze to implement it. It takes me less time to write out a plan once a week than it does to try and figure it out on the fly every day. I also plan for some batch cooking (like cooking two chickens – one for a dinner of roast chicken and the other to be used as leftovers in chicken quesadillas for example) and this saves a lot of time during the week.
- It saves me from extra stress. That 4 or 5 pm panic when I realize that dinner time is looming and I have nothing planned can be so stressful – especially when you have a family to feed! A meal plan takes away the worry and the need to problem solve on the spot. It’s already planned, the job is done; so you can put it out of your mind for now!
- It saves me (and my family) from poor eating habits. When dinner becomes a “last minute, hurry up and figure out how to feed the hungry hordes kind of thing”, there is a tendency to grab some takeout or go for convenience foods. If you have a meal plan in place, it’s much easier to prepare ahead of time for good healthy home-cooked meals.
- It saves me from family discord. With my family, I always posted the menu plans in the kitchen where everyone would see them. All family members knew what we were going to have for dinner and on what day. There were no more complaints of “but I had chicken for lunch; I don’t want it for dinner too!”, there were no more arguments over what takeout food to order, and it limited the griping about what we were having for dinner. I included the rest of the family in the process so they felt like they had input into the menu and they were aware of the plan ahead of time – I found that knowing in advance as opposed to the last minute surprise seemed take some of the wind out of their arguments.
Do you do meal planning? If not, what’s holding you back from it?
You can check out some of the menu plans I’ve posted online here.