BY: FITDAY EDITOR
Planning meals is an activity that can bring a number of benefits. Whether you are cooking for one, for two or for your entire family, taking the time to sit down and plan future meals will not only save you time, effort and money but will also improve your eating habits. Here are some reasons why you should start planning your meals.
Perhaps the number one reason to begin planning meals is that it lets you eat healthier. When you already have a menu of the foods you’re going to prepare for the next several days, you won’t have to resort to eating out or ordering takeout. As you probably know, most fast foods and restaurants today fall below standard when it comes to serving nutritious foods. Unfortunately, when you find yourself coming home late from work or too busy to do the groceries, you probably resort to buying pizza, cheeseburgers or a bucket of greasy chicken. Prepackaged meals are just as bad. Most TV and microwave dinners are often processed so much that they lose whatever nutrients they contained. When you plan meals, you can avoid eating these nutritionally lacking foods. Instead, you can spend time thinking of well-balanced meals and how you can prepare them.
When you make a habit of planning your meals, you can also get to shop for groceries more efficiently. This is because you will already have a list of the ingredients you need even before you go the supermarket or grocery. This will eliminate those annoying instances when you’re in the middle of cooking and you discover that you’ve run out of a necessary ingredient, so you end up rushing to the store or doing without the ingredient. Naturally, you will also get to avoid having groceries go to waste. Perhaps you’ve experienced buying a food item with plans of using it for a meal only to have it stuck in the back of your fridge for weeks. Meal planning automatically eliminates these grocery-related problems.
When you are dining out less and shopping for groceries more efficiently, you will naturally get to save money. In fact, you can even include costs in your meal plans as well so you can have an idea how much you can expect to spend. Once you know what ingredients you will be needing, you can also find out where to buy these ingredients cheaply.
Another good thing about planning meals is that it lets you enjoy variety. Instead of eating the same dish five times a week, you can plan your menu so you are always enjoying something new. Perhaps you can cook fish on Monday, beef on Tuesday, lamb on Wednesday, a vegetarian dish on Thursday and chicken for Friday. This is particularly helpful if you have children who are picky about their food. You can also ask for their preferences when planning meals so you can be sure they will like to dishes you serve them.