Even if you love to cook, finding time on the weeknights to get into the kitchen and do it can be difficult. And we're all familiar with having our day punctuated by thoughts of 'What's for dinner?' Often, after going to work, picking up kids, and getting home, it's easier to order takeout or cook something quickly.
The answer is to plan the meals for the week ahead of time. It can be daunting to think about having to come up with a week's worth of meals, but the reality is planning ahead will make cooking at home much, much easier.
The key is to take some time on the weekend to look ahead at the week and plan what you are going to cook and when you are going to shop. A small investment of time on the weekend will lead to a week of awesome eating.
Meal Planning Means Healthier Eating
People most often rely on convenience food and takeout when they are tired and don't have time to shop and prepare dinner. Meal planning makes it easier to avoid these pitfalls. Planning ahead for healthy meals means you'll be ready when it comes time to prepare them. You can pick meals that make use of seasonal vegetables and whole foods.
Meal Planning Saves Money
Planning ahead is more economical for two main reasons. Buying ingredients and preparing them at home is less expensive than relying on fast food or eating out. Cooking at home also leads to having leftovers.
Once you have a menu ready, you can make one large trip to the grocery store for all of the ingredients you will need for the week. That cuts down on multiple trips to the market and opportunities to impulse by other things.
Planning Ahead Means Having More Time
From not having to think about what to cook to fewer trips to the grocery store, planning ahead means having more time. When you start the week knowing what you're going to cook and that you have what you need, getting meals on the table will be a breeze.
Once you get into the swing of planning the weeks' meals on the weekend, you'll realize that you have more time at the end of long workdays to relax, spend time with your family, and even better - enjoy your dinner.
There Will Be More Variety In Your Meals
Meal planning helps keep you from falling into the same old dinner routines and ruts. Thinking ahead gives you the opportunity to open your mind up creatively to other ideas. You can get inspired and experiment. And when you're planning delicious, varied meals, you'll have everything you need to cook them, and no excuse to fall back on the usual suspects.