One of my health goals for 2016 is to plan our weekly menus. I have to admit, I’ve been pretty lazy when it comes to planning our weekly menus. But I know from research (and the times that I have planned our menus for the week) that menu planning is one of the key ingredients for healthy living. Here are just a few of the benefits of planning your meals each week.
- It saves time. 15 – 20 minutes of planning your meals could save you hours of wasted time during the week. Rather than wondering what you’re going to fix and scurrying around last minute to find something to eat (which often includes an unplanned trip to the store), you’ll be ready with your list of meals.
- It saves energy. It takes both physical and mental energy to come up with meals each day. But if you’ve planned and shopped for the week, everything you need to fix your meals is right at your disposal. You can even pre-make some of your meals when you have more energy so that they are ready to go for those days you know you will be busier.
- It saves money. The times I don’t menu plan, I end up making multiple trips to the store. That inevitably means I am spending more money – more money on gas, and more money on expensive, convenience foods. But when I plan our meals for the week and make one trip, the final total on my grocery bill is almost always less than the combined totals of multiple trips.
- It helps avoid decision-fatigue. Spending a few minutes planning each week avoids the dreaded, “What’s for dinner?” question. You have so many other decisions to make during the day, wouldn’t it be nice to have the “what’s for dinner?” question already answered?
- It helps you stick with healthy eating goals. Planning and stocking your fridge and pantry with healthy foods is key to reaching your health goals. Making fresh, homemade meals for you and your family on a regular basis is one of the best things you can do for your health. Meal planning helps make that possible!
To help make menu planning more fun, I’ve created a menu planning printable with spaces to write out 7 different breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks (one for every day of the week). I don’t typically like to assign a particular meal to a specific day (though some people like to do this). I simply choose from the list of recipes and decide what I will make that day from the list. Then I cross it off once it’s been prepared.
I also created a matching shopping list printable, so you can write out your list of ingredients and where to find them in the store. For access to these and other great printables, make sure to subscribe!
After about 4 to 6 weeks, if you have kept your Menu Planners and Shopping Lists, you can pull them out again and have your menu for the week and shopping list all ready to go (without even thinking about it!) This is a great way to save even more time and energy.
What’s your favorite way to plan your menus? Do you have a favorite app or program you use or are you a pen-and-paper kind of gal?