The Benefits of Meal Planning

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Good morning!

Just three short weeks ago when my husband returned to work full-time, I decided to make a plan- a meal plan, to be exact. When my husband was home, he would prepare most of our dinners during the week. My only job was to eat his home cooked meals and help with the dishes. I could do that. But now that our schedules have changed and I am the one home closest to dinner time, I am responsible for preparing most of our meals.

There’s just one problem- I do not like cooking, especially not in the summertime. I absolutely dread it. It’s too hot and I never desire to cook anything that I have in the fridge/cabinets. If I had my choice, I would seriously order tacos and pizza every night, but we all know that’s not healthy or realistic (chuckling). So I had to come up with a plan to motivate myself to cook.

I decided to start meal planning and I am quite surprised at the following benefits.

Prior to meal planning, we would just grocery shop for meat, vegetables, and a few snacks to last us for a week or so. We did not have a concrete plan of what to make for dinner. We would throw food together and make it work, which is not a bad thing. However, sometimes it created stress because we were scrounging to figure out what we would cook at the last minute. There were times when we just couldn’t figure out what we wanted to cook and ended up ordering out, spending more money than intended.

There are many people who are able to spontaneously cook and come up with beautiful dishes. I wish this was my story.  For me, planning our meals has proven to be more beneficial than cooking meals on the spot.

Meal planning has many benefits. For instance:

1. You have the flexibility to plan creative meals. You can have fun creating a variety of beautiful, healthy dishes for your family.

2. You save money. When you have a plan for the week you can make one trip to the grocery store to get everything you need. This prevents you from running back and forth to the store multiple times a week to purchase dinners. It also prevents you from ordering out multiple times a week.

3. You eliminate stress. You know exactly what you are going to cook and when. There is no stress of trying to come up with a dinner game plan at the very last minute and stressing you and your family out.

4. You get excited! You will be so thrilled to try new recipes. I can’t stay off of the AllRecipes website. If I wasn’t meal planning, I would have never tried the peppered shrimp Alfredo pasta, which was a huge hit.

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Peppered Shrimp Alfredo

 

Meal planning gets me excited about trying new dishes for my husband and I. It switches things up a bit and keep us from eating the same meals over and over again. I also get to post beautiful food pictures on my Facebook page to show friends what I’ve been working on.

As exciting and beneficial as meal planning is, some days it will be hard to create a plan for the week. Don’t become discouraged when this happens.

If you have a week of meal planning that doesn’t go well and you end up eating out more than intended, have grace with yourself and start over.

Be flexible. Last night I’d planned on making fish tacos but we ended up eating leftover pizza from Sunday. It was awesome because I was able to take a break from cooking and cleaning the kitchen.

Eat leftovers. My family and I are big eaters so we rarely have leftovers, but we don’t mind eating them the next day for lunch or dinner.

How do I meal plan?

During the week, I look up recipes online or create a plan of what I’d like to cook. By Saturday night, I finalize my meal plan and make a list of all the food items I will need to purchase. My meal plan typically looks like this:

meal plan

On Sunday after church, I grocery shop for the week and start prepping by cutting up the vegetables I’ll need for the week. Each day when I return home from work, I cook what I have on my calendar for that day. Again, there are days when things come up and we have to switch meals around or order out, but for the most part, we try to stick to the meal plan.

So far, its been a great journey, one I’d like to continue pursuing. I would love to hear from those who currently meal plan. What resources do you use to plan out meals? How do you meal plan? What are the benefits and challenges to meal planning? How do you save money? Do you use coupons? Do you shop in bulks at Costco or SAMs Club?

Please feel free to share below! I look forward to hearing from you all soon; thanks so much for reading this post!

Blessings to you all!

Here are a few other dishes, I’ve made recently! Enjoy!

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Buffalo Chicken Salad

 

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Baked Chicken With Roasted Veggies 
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Turkey Burger With Baked Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries

 

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