Why Meal Planning is Good for Your Health.
Today I am sharing a guest post from the owner of one of my favorite websites, Dish Dish about meal planning. Melanie is a friend who, like me, loves to help families eat healthy and she’s created this online family cookbook where you can collect recipes and share them with other members and friends.
Dish Dish also features videos and a food-related blog that you just must check out (and you can find yours truly on there!).
Here’s what Melanie has to say:
Do you, like me, sometimes find yourself in a frustrating moment with three (or more) little people asking “What’s for Dinner?” and realizing you didn’t have any idea? The stress of that moment can be almost completely eradicated (I say almost completely … inevitably one of those little people will be slightly unhappy with your plan, right?) by sitting down once a week and laying out a meal plan.
I like to look ahead at the week and see which nights we’ll be running from one activity to the next or have to eat earlier or later than usual, or even see what the weather will be like, to help decide which meal would be a good fit for each evening – maybe I need to put something on in the crockpot earlier in the day; maybe I need to have a quick-ready meal; maybe I have extra time and want to plan family pizza night. However it all works out, this helps me eliminate that stressful moment each day when it dawns on me that dinner time is upon us (having sneaked up, as it occasionally does, on top of all the other goings-on of the day).
Having a meal plan keeps the family eating healthy. It’s more difficult to make healthy eating choices at the last minute, in the stress of the moment, when it’s easier to cave in and drive-thru somewhere instead of enjoying a fresh, home cooked meal. Even if you end up changing up your meal plan due to the events of the day, you’re likely to already have ingredients ready and an idea of other options, since you have already thought through a plan for the week.
Enjoy Family Meal Time
Everywhere we look, we see the positive impacts and promoted benefits of families eating meals together, enjoying conversation, catching up from the day, and reconnecting. Having a meal plan for the week helps ensure that family dinner time happens more consistently and becomes a healthy tradition for your family (something I’m sure we all hope our children will carry on with their families).
Save some money this week by having meals planned out. First, you’ll save money at the grocery store (if you made your list based on your meal plan), since you won’t be buying extra items you don’t need. Additionally, you’re less likely to spend extra money eating out, if you already know what you’re preparing for dinner (or already have it prepped and in the fridge, oven or crockpot).
Reduce Food Waste
Lastly, having a meal plan reduces food waste. While inevitably, many of us end up throwing out the last of the celery or green onions that we didn’t use up before they went bad, we really dislike that senseless waste of food. Without a meal plan, you will more often find yourself throwing out food that didn’t get used, since with all the good intentions you had when you purchased those items, when push came to shove, the drive-thru or a to-go order won out the evening. So, have a meal plan, and throw away less food!
Make Your Meal Plan
You may be thinking still that it’s just too time consuming to make out a meal plan. I challenge you this week to do just that. Carve out 30 minutes to look at the week ahead and your schedule, decide on a meal you can prepare each evening for dinner (if you’re really ambitious, go ahead and plan breakfast and lunches, too); if needed, look up the recipe for those meals and quickly add the ingredients to your grocery list. Voila! You have just reduced your stress for the week, saved time and money, and started a habit that will allow you to enjoy healthy family meal time with your crew!
Melanie Carr is the owner and founder of Dish Dish, Your Online Family Cookbook, helping families and foodies around the world enjoy family meal time, share recipes digitally, and keep their grocery list and menus accessible online. She has been happily married for 25 years, homeschooled her three children, and enjoys volunteering in the community.
If you need help detoxing from processed junk food and moving toward a REAL food meal plan then my 10 Day Detox on-line program may be for you. You can find out more HERE.