"What’s for dinner?” is one of the most ever-present, annoying, nagging, stressful and relentless questions there is. It never gives up because every time I turn around it’s time to eat.
To relieve some of this stress and give inspiration to the moment (because no one else is going to help you with this question), I have always turned to meal planning. And amazingly, even an attempted, scribbled, notes-in-the-margin-meal-plan is better than none when it’s 5 pm and no dinner is insight.
Meal planning is hailed not only for taking out the stress of mealtime as it creeps up every day but also for allowing you to plan for variety so you’re not eating spaghetti every night. It helps you to save money since you know beforehand what you need to buy so food is not going to waste. When you think about meals ahead of time, you’re more likely to plan for healthier and more nutritious meals and not resort to taking out or eating foods that are convenient. The last big benefit is the amount of time you save can be spent on more precious things like spending time with your kids.
I am a big fan of putting this practice into place over the weekend, kicking off the planning on Friday, shopping on Saturday morning, and then using an hour or so on Sunday for meal prep.
Here are my simple tips for meal planning:
- Make sure to get a meal planning notebook or document you can fill in when you plan for the week. Writing down your meal plan will ensure a higher success rate of seeing it through.
- Spend a little time looking through cookbooks you want to cook from or on blogs, instagram posts etc. to get meal and recipe inspiration. With today’s information overload there are no excuses not to find simple, easy, and healthy recipes.
- Make a grocery list while you’re jotting down recipes. Do not forget to take inventory stock on what’s in your pantry and fridge.
- Meal prep over the weekends. My personal day happens to be on Sundays for batch cooking, washing and/or chopping.
If you can make it habitual, and do so in a way that's conducive to your schedule and lifestyle, it can stick. With any of these easy meal planning tips above, you’ll definitely save yourself time, money, and sanity by preparing wholesome healthy meals for you and your family.
Maria Crokos is a certified health coach living in Montreal, Canada. She earned her certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, the largest globally renowned nutrition school in the world. She is an advocate for clean eating, especially for children, and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
wewelltogether website: www.wewelltogether.com
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