The following is from contributing writer Meagan Newsome
That dreaded phrase – menu planning. Many people cringe at the mere thought of it. . .
“It’s too time-consuming.”
“It’s way too complicated.”
“I don’t want to cook every night.”
“I’m too busy.”
I think if everybody would truly give menu planning a whirl at least once, they would find that it actually saves time, simplifies life, and makes meal time more joyous. Even if there are a few sacrifices involved, the pros definitely outweigh the cons by a long shot. Menu planning has countless benefits. If you truly want to eat well and spend less, it’s a must.
Here are the Top 5 reasons to try menu planning:
1. Menu planning saves you time.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, in the work force, or juggling a million and one activities, menu planning will definitely save you time in the end. You always have the ingredients on hand to whip up a meal from your planned menu. You don’t have to run to the store, run around your kitchen frantically trying to figure out what to make for dinner, or spend an hour trying to find a great recipe. All of that has been done. Simply pick which meal you’ll make, grab the ingredients, and cook it up! If you’re very busy during the week, try once-a-month cooking. Freeze some meals so that they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. Plan ahead – that is key.
2. Menu planning saves you money.
Even if you don’t coupon, this is the number one way you can save some money on groceries. When you have your menus planned out, you know exactly which ingredients you need to buy at the store. You have a list and you stick to that list while shopping. No impulse buys.
3. Menu planning promotes healthy eating.
When meals are planned out, you will usually end up with a more balanced, nutritious diet. You don’t have to run through a fast food lane, grab a processed food on the go, or skip meals. Instead, you are eating delicious and wholesome meals.
4. Menu planning cuts back on waste.
Often, we buy foods at the grocery store, thinking we’ll use them for something, but they end up getting thrown out. If you’re sticking to the list, you’re not buying anything you won’t NEED for your planned meals. You won’t be overspending on food for “just in case.” Rather, every item that you purchase will be going towards a meal that you know you’ll be eating. You will find yourself throwing out much less food than usual.
5. Menu planning saves on gas.
With gas prices continually rising, this is a very important factor to consider. Often, if you are not strategic and organized with your grocery shopping, multiple trips per week to the grocery store can become the norm. If you have planned menus, you can buy exactly what you’ll need on a regular interval. You will rarely find yourself saying, “Oh no! I don’t have garlic for this meal. I need to drive up to the grocery store!” No more emergency grocery runs = less driving = less gas money.
Some suggestions to make it easier? Choose an interval of time that works best for you and your family. Maybe it’s once a month, once a week, or once every two weeks. Also, find a time when you can sit down once per interval and plan out your menu. If you plan during your downtime, you’ll find yourself much less stressed on those nights when you are super busy.
So why not give menu planning a go? It might require some creativity, and a little bit of planning-ahead time, but it’s totally worth it!
Do you menu plan each week?
About Meagan Newsome
Meagan authors Frugal Fun & Fortune, where she writes about saving money, giving to others, delicious Vegetarian recipes, simple living, and her life adventures. Her greatest passions include chasing after God wholeheartedly, social justice and being a good wife. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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