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Meal Planning Benefits: Why Is Meal Prep Important?

Meal planning benefits? What? A weekly meal plan? What’s that? Have you ever thought about it?

Consider this:

It’s 5:00….you look at the clock and dread starts to sweep over you. You didn’t mean not to plan supper…again. And you do love your family and want to feed them, but you just have no idea what! You feel frustrated and uncertain.

To top it off, you have all these sets of beautiful little eyes staring at you, wondering if they will starve! They’re counting on you to feed them. And you have to come up with a plan quickly!

Only…there isn’t any food in the house, because the truth be told, you actually haven’t come up with a plan.

Ever.

Stale bread with butter slathered on will have to do. You promise yourself that this will be the last unappetizing meal you’ll serve your family, but you really aren’t sure how to make good on the promise.

It’s ok!

Lets talk for a minute about the reasons why a weekly meal planner is important and what you can do about changing the way you look at meal times. Your kids and your husband will thank you (and me! 🙂 )! I promise!

First of all, if you take the time to meal plan,

What Are the Benefits of Meal Prepping?

There are so many reasons why you should meal plan, but to me, the obvious two are saving time and saving money. Who doesn’t leave either of those?! We all want more time and more money! 🙂

You can read more about the benefits of meal planning in this article. Definitely click that link – you don’t wanna miss it!

If You Plan Meals for a Busy Week, Your Family Won’t Starve

Obviously meal planning will help prevent starvation! Sadly enough, there have been many times where I’ve opened the fridge after failing to meal plan and realized that we have nothing to eat. That means people are hungry.

So if you get into the habit of making a weekly meal planner, then you’ll have a very happy family with satisfied tummies! They will thank you when they’re not scrounging for crumbs on the bottom of the pantry floor!

And no one will starve!

Family sharing a dinner together from the weekly menu. They are enjoying the meal planning benefits in their home.

Having a Meal Plan Will Mean Less Frustration for You…and Your Family

It’s frustrating not knowing what to eat. Have you ever been there? Wandering around, wishing a full-course meal would drop out of thin air? At this point, you’d even be happy with a half-course meal!!

If you take the time to make a weekly meal plan, you’ll automatically eliminate the frustration that comes from opening the refrigerator door, shutting it, opening the pantry door, shutting it, and then returning back to the refrigerator only to realize that the same things are still staring back at you from the shelves. (Why do we do this, anyway??!!)

It’s very frustrating having hungry people in your house and no idea what to feed them. You might even feel like you’re letting them down. So weekly meal planning is very important.

Your sanity depends on it! And your family’s tummies are also depending on it!

Planning Your Meals Will Save You Time

Believe It or not, having a weekly menu plan will save you time. It can seem overwhelming at first, but it really is a time-saver in the end. Once you get several weeks all planned out in your weekly menu planner, then you’ll be able to rotate your menu and you’ll save even more time.

Let’s talk about the ways you’ll save time:

1. At the Grocery Store

Before I used to menu plan, I looked like a busy bee buzzing around the grocery store. I would jaunt from the back of the store to the front, only to remember that I forgot something all the way in the back.

It was frustrating and took a lot of time. Now that I menu plan, I can quickly and efficiently shop in a much more organized way, saving me tons of time.

Now I even plan out my grocery list according to the layout of the store. I zip through and grab things quickly with much more intentionality than my pre-meal planning days! 🙂

2. At Home

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Once you have your weekly menu plan all set up, you’ll know exactly what to cook. Therefore, you can make sure your meat is defrosted ahead of time and all of your ingredients are ready to go.

You won’t have to run to the grocery store for a last minute missing ingredient and preparation should be very quick and easy. When menu planning wasn’t my habit, I found myself searching through recipes which took a lot of time. Especially now that everything is online, I don’t open cookbooks anymore.

Therefore, a quick look for a recipe on Allrecipes meant I also would quickly check my Facebook, and my email, and my Pinterest account, as well.

You get the idea!

I can’t count how many times my intentions for going online to grab a recipe were good, but then I got distracted and my whole plan went to south!

If You Take Time to Make a Meal Plan, You’ll Like Cooking a Whole Lot More!

Because let’s face it, there’s not much enjoyment in defrosting a brick of mystery meat to make your not sure what kind of meal, and then trying to scramble to think of a plan to make something quickly!

Part of the reason cooking becomes less enjoyable is because you don’t have a plan. But when you know exactly what you’re making, cooking is much more enjoyable. Your weekly meal plan should help make your cooking much more interesting and exciting!

And after you get good at menu planning, you can start experimenting with different recipes and adding a little bit of flair to your plan. You can have so much fun trying new recipes.

Does Meal Planning Save Money?

You better believe it does! 🙂

In the same way you’ll save time when you stop to figure out a menu plan, you’ll also save money. There won’t be any more throwing ingredients into your cart wondering if you’ll need them. (Guilty!)

I’ve found that making a weekly meal plan has cut our grocery bill down considerably. I know exactly what I’m going to buy and I stick to the list. I’m not tempted to buy things I won’t use, and it’s much easier not to be swayed by “my little helpers” who want everything their hands can reach!

Planning ahead also means you’ll be able to shop the sales and make your menu plan according to the specials your store is offering each week.

Don’t forget to use your coupons! (PSSST: Check out Money Saving Mom’s Coupon Database. It’s pretty awesome!)

Woman saving money while grocery shopping. She's thinking about the meal planning benefits coming her way!

Meal Planning Will Help You Waste Less Food

Having a weekly meal plan will help you use up the food that you buy. Have you ever opened the produce drawer and stuck your finger through a cucumber? (I may or may not have! I’ve heard it’s disgusting!)

I will say that not having a weekly menu plan causes me to waste food because, let’s face it, I really didn’t know what I was going to do with some of the food I bought in the first place. Therefore, when I follow my menu, I use up the food that I purchased for each recipe.  

I also plan leftovers as a meal, and that helps stretch our grocery money and causes us to waste less.

Planning Your Meals Helps You Add Variety to Your Menu

If you have all of your meals planned out at a glance, it’s easy to take a look and see where you could add a little creativity. It’s fun to try new recipes and everyone appreciates something different once in awhile.

It’ll be much easier to add variety if you know exactly what you’re going to serve your family for dinner.

Eventually, as you make enough menu plans, you can start to rotate them. Then once you have those menus mastered, you can try switching out a few of your recipes for brand new ones.

Meal Planning Makes Lunchtime Less Difficult

I don’t know why I struggle so much with making lunch, but I do! It could be that I don’t want to make a full meal but I know people are still gonna be hungry.

Leftovers make perfect lunches. When I make my weekly menu plan, I also include a little extra so we can eat the leftovers for lunch.

That means it’s one less meal I have to think about and my family is extra happy because…well remember, they all starve when I don’t meal plan!

5:00 Won’t Be Your Least Favorite Hour of the Day

Menu planning has made the dinner hour much more enjoyable. I used to dread looking at the clock and seeing 5:00 approaching.

Ashamedly, before I spent time making a weekly meal planner, I would wait until the absolute latest I could to determine that I really had no idea what I was going to make for supper. Cuz, you know, procrastination always helps! ;P

Once I started planning out what we were going to eat, 5:00 became much more enjoyable! In fact, typically, now since starting to plan out my menu, I actually have something to serve my family for dinner at 5:00 instead of just starting to scrounge through the empty refrigerator when I should be serving my family a hot meal!

As You Can See, There are Many Advantages of Meal Planning!

It really is so worth it to plan your meals. I’m sure you’ll find even more added benefits than I’ve mentioned here. Once you get started meal planning, you’ll never want to go back to an unplanned grocery list again! I can promise you!

You Can Do It! You Can Learn to Start Meal Planning!

Don’t be discouraged or overwhelmed. Menu planning is really not that difficult. Once you learn how to make a weekly meal planner, you’ll be known as the gourmet chef in the house!

Everyone will be excited for supper and you’ll be relaxed, confident, and happy! It doesn’t get much better than that! 

Click the image below to find out what you’re missing! 

Related Meal Planning Articles:

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to meal planning? To you find it difficult to think ahead and plan out your meals for the week? Or do you have some really good tips for me to make weekly meal planning even more fun? Comment below and let me know!

 

Kitchen utensils and pots and pans useful for making a weekly meal plan. These meal planning benefits may just surprise you!

Picture of a meal planning binder for making a weekly meal plan.

11 Weekly Meal Planning Benefits {You Need to Know}

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