5 Reasons to Start Meal Planning Today

5 Reasons to Start Meal Planning Today

When I was working full-time, I had to shop for groceries on the weekend, typically on Sunday afternoon. I usually had a list and some ideas in my head of meals, but meal planning was not part of our shopping strategy. And we certainly never had a complete grocery list.

I would spend almost 2 hours at the store and $100-$200. Then, on my way home, I would stop at some local fast food place to pickup dinner because I was just too tired to cook. There goes another $30 or so. Sound familiar? Then, usually around Wednesday night, my 2 year old would spend an hour screaming, and I was too tired after the long day to cook. So, I’d order delivery or take out, spending another $40 or more.

After closely reviewing our spending habits, we clearly needed a better strategy. Enter meal planning. I know, it just does not sound super exciting, but, meal planning changed the way we eat, the way we grocery budget and the way we shop. Here are 5 reasons to start meal planning today!

 

Grocery Shopping Simplified

At Whine and Dancing, we are all about simplifying! Let me paint you a picture: There I am at the grocery store, with 3 kids in tow, wandering down the pasta aisle thinking, “do I have dried pasta at home or shredded cheese?” Then, trotting back to the dairy section to get shredded cheese for a potential meal with mac & cheese. Meanwhile, the 2 year old is trying to climb out of the cart, screaming that she’s hungry. Grocery trips were dreaded in this house. Now, with a complete shopping list in hand, I spend 1 hour (give or take, if we have to take a potty break) in the store. I know exactly what to buy, and I stick to my list!

Eating In or Eating Out?

When I sit down to plan our weekly meals, I plan for those nights when we are busy. On Mondays, my son has sports practice until 6:45pm and he gets home after 7pm. On those nights, I plan a simple meal that can be prepared in 10 minutes, or I plan for us to eat out. Having a plan makes it easier to make the choice about whether to eat at home or eat out.

Less Food Wasted

That leads me to my next point. If I know we are eating out during the week, I buy less food at the store. I only buy what we will use for the week, and we throw out less food that has spoiled.

Saves Money

You had to know this was coming. Meal planning saves a lot of money. First of all, I’m no longer walking willy nilly through the store. I am not impulse buying stuff that “sounds good”, only to never eat it later because it spoiled. Second, you spend less money eating out when you are prepared with all the right ingredients. Finally, you can coupon or use other apps to save more money when you know what you’re buying ahead of time!

Saves Time

Meal planning takes some investment time. You need to set aside a little time (about 10-15 min) each week. But in the long run, it saves you more time. You won’t spend 15 minutes in the evening rummaging in the pantry. Then, wait another 30 or 45 minutes for the pizza delivery guy because “there was nothing to eat in the house”. {“How can we have no food, I just went to the store!” I’ve been there!}

If you find yourself eating out more often than you’d like with a fridge and pantry full of unused groceries, consider meal planning. You may need to shift your thinking to incorporate meal planning, but it will pay off and save you time, money and help prepare you for those hectic nights.

Reasons to Meal Plan | whine and dancing blog | Do you find yourself eating out frequently after spending $100s at the grocery store? Consider these 5 reasons to meal plan and start planning today!

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