I know I LOVE to discuss meal planning and food prep, but it’s because it’s so important. To read more about food prep specifics and importance, I wrote about more about it here.
Today I want to go over the 2 main benefits of meal planning, so that they come to the forefront of whatever decision-making process you make in it to help you better understand 😉
Benefit #1. It is cheaper/ cost-effective
Benefit #2. It improves your mindfulness on eating
So how is it cheaper? Well, when you meal-plan for the week, you do it based on what you have, what groceries you bought, time it so you use your fresh produce sooner so that it doesn’t go bad, and make sure you don’t miss other fresh available products that you have at home and put them to use! How many times have you bought 4 avocados because they were on sale, used one, and then forgot about other 3 and let them go bad? What a waste right?! Or splurged on a block of specialty cheese and then forgot about it hidden in your fridge and discovered it going bad a few weeks later? We’ve all been there! So one of the main components of meal planning, is knowing your inventory, planning it out (or at least a few meals that will use perishable ingredients), and not waste money.
How does it improve your mindfulness? Let’s be realistic, I know I can sit and plan each meal for a week but that something will come up, I’ll meet a friend for lunch, or order in dinner with my hubs from our favorite Indian restaurant, or end up getting both drinks and apps out one night and not be hungry for a full dinner after, and can’t make each item I plan for… however, when you start to plan, you start to think of the meals you are eating. You will notice a change, in the food you bring to work, and resisting the temptation to buy lunch, you will appreciate the food you have have taken the time to prepare more, and if you like to cook- you will notice yourself getting excited to get back into the kitchen to cook your next creation and experiment creatively with what you have (or that could totally be just me!).
An example here: my produce run from yesterday (minus a couple of limes that didn’t make it in the photo!)
– tomatoes (for my chili tomorrow)
– kiwis (smoothie bowls!)
– meyer lemons (currently TBD but thinking up something dessert-y)
– oranges (for work snacks)
– bananas (for smoothies)
– zucchinis (for my chili)
– beets! (for smoothies, and goat cheese salads 😉
– spinach (for smoothies)
– kale (for daily side sauté)
– limes (for water)
You can see how without even a super detailed plan of meals for each day, I have pre-assigned and thought out what each item will be used for. Now when I make a smoothie, or my chili crockpot dish, etc I will know I have set aside items to be used for it, and they will less likely be forgotten and go bad 😉
Just an example of simplifying meal prep, how do you like to plan your meals? What do you find works best for you?