Making a plan, and sticking to it, might just be the key ingredient you’re missing.
Meal planning is one of the easiest ways to keep your health on track. It can also help to reduce the stress of a work week by taking the question out of what you’re going to eat for dinner. Don’t worry – if spending your weekend cooking meals for the week ahead isn’t your thing, you don’t have to prep everything ahead! Even having a basic plan to follow for the week can help set you up for success for sticking to your goals and choosing healthy options.
With that, we present to you the three ways that meal planning can help you stay on track.
It saves time.
We’ve all been there – it’s 5 PM, and you’re asking your partner, kids, mom, or even the dog what you should make for dinner. By planning your meals ahead of time, you can eliminate the daily struggle of trying to figure out what you should make for dinner. It also helps to remind you to pull the chicken out of the freezer to thaw, rather than frantically throwing it into the microwave when you’re ready to make dinner.
You’ll have what you need in your kitchen.
When you sit down to make your meal plan, take stock of the ingredients needed for each recipe you choose and make a note of the ones you’ll need to purchase. Add your regular staples like milk, eggs, fruit or snacks and your grocery list for the week will be ready to go. By planning ahead and making that list of what you’ll need, you’re setting yourself up for success when it comes time to assemble your food for the day.
Bonus: this also helps you to save waste, because you’re only buying ingredients for what you’ve planned to eat. Never again discover a sad, wrinkled avocado at the bottom of the veggie drawer that you forgot to eat.
It sets the right mindset.
By taking time away to think clearly about what you want to eat, you’re setting yourself up to make good, healthy decisions about the food you’re preparing. Just like avoiding going grocery shopping when you’re hungry, taking a moment to consider your meals and match them up to what you’ve got going on during the week helps you to be less impulsive when it comes to food. For example, if you know you’ve got kids in swimming lessons at 6 PM on Wednesday, you might choose something that is quick and easy to prepare. You’re also more likely to stick to your goals if you’ve made a plan to help you follow through on them.