I love to eat, I talk a lot about food, and I’ve written about food. Something I don’t love is thinking about what to eat for dinner. After I’ve come home from a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is think about what I want to eat. Cooking is also very high on the things-I-don’t-want-to-do list. I just want to shove food in my face and call it a day. The solution to this: start meal planning!
When you start meal planning, you list what meals you want to make for the week before you go and do groceries. This means that when you’re in the grocery shop you already know exactly what you need to buy in order to prepare the meals.
I started meal planning too – it helps me keep my grocery budget under $70 a month. I’ve always struggled with actually cooking. Often times I don’t want to cook and I opt for the easy option: a sandwich, going out to eat, or ordering in. I don’t enjoy cooking, it’s purely functional for me.
Meal planning has really changed the way I eat and the way I go about food. It’s easy. You just prepare the meals at the beginning of the week and you have enough for every meal. There is less snacking, there is less eating out, there is less food wasted, and you’re saving precious time and money!
If you have a hard time eating at home, try the $5 meal plan! They send you an email with meal plans for the week. I’ve included a short review of them for the ones interested in their service (spoiler: I highly enjoy it!).
7 Reasons Why You Need To Start Meal Planning
Weekly Meal Plans Save You $$$
I’ve found that when you go to the grocery store with a plan, you don’t buy as much. You know what’s on your list, you know what you should buy. Just get that and get out. Especially the times when I go to the grocery store hungry, I spend a lot of money on snacks and extra items. #1 lifehack – don’t go to the grocery store hungry!!!
When you’re having weekly meal plans, you only have to go to the grocery store once per week. This will save you money on grocery items that you buy and don’t need. Besides that, it will save you gas money since you don’t need to go past the grocery store as often.
A great side effect of only going once per week to the grocery store is that you’re wasting less food. I find it heartbreaking when I need to throw food away. Honestly, I eat it when it’s less than a week past the expiration date (depending on the item). Still, I have to admit I needed to throw away food sometimes. It hurts in my soul. When you’re only buying the food that you will use for your weekly meal preparation, this extra cost is eliminated.
The biggest saver, in my case, was spending less to eat out or order in. Not only for dinner but also for getting lunch at work. I’m very easy when it comes to food and cooking. If I don’t have something that I like, I will get something that I like. Most of the time it’s expensive, unhealthy, did I mention expensive? This will be the biggest money saver of all, mark my words.
Weekly Meal Plans Save You Time
We all need more hours in our day. We love to read the latest time-saving hacks and try to make our lives as efficient as possible. Weekly meal plans can be a huge part of this!
Let’s be honest, how much time do you spend daily on your meals? Some days I spend more time wandering around the supermarket thinking about what I should eat than time actually cooking. Or I needed to go back to the supermarket because I had forgotten one or two essential items for that night’s dinner.
Start with meal planning to save the time you spend thinking about what you want to eat every day of the week, wandering around in the grocery store, and saves you a lot of grocery trips. You go to the supermarket once a week, where you purchase a week worth of groceries all at once.
With a meal plan, you will think about exactly what you need for the entire week. Thinking about what you want to eat for the entire week is much easier compared to thinking about what you want to eat every day. It saves you a lot of time! You have a list of things you need to get and that’s it. No need to get things that are not on the list! Meaning you’ll go in and out of the supermarket in no time.
Weekly Meal Plans Have Less Food Waste
According to the European Union, 20% of the total food produced is lost or wasted. With the average family of four spending between €500-€800 on food monthly, they waste between €100-€160 of food every month in the average family! That’s a lot of money!
Why would people do that? Because some food spoils, there is too much food cooked, or leftovers are thrown away. One great way to reduce this food waste it to have a weekly meal plan. When you’re purchasing only what you need, there is less food waste for sure.
Since I’ve switched to weekly meal plans and batch-cooking, there is much less food waste. I know exactly what I will eat in a week and what I need to make that. It’s convenient, better for our wallet, and better for the environment.
Weekly Meal Plans Make You Eat Healthily
I don’t know about you, but I always go grocery shopping after I’ve finished work for the day. It’s often 7 pm and that means I’m hungry. When I’m hungry I make terrible food decisions, it’s like my lizard brain is turned on again and I want allll the fats + sugar.
When I’m grocery shopping with a plan, this doesn’t happen. I’m still hungry but I can manage to stick to my list and just ignore everything else in the shop. I’m holding onto my grocery list for life and getting in hyperfocus mode. It helps!
Besides me not buying brownies and donuts when I’m hungry, a meal plan also prevents you from eating out. We often think it’s more convenient to eat out or order in, instead of cooking the meals ourselves. I have to say that most of the time you would be much quicker cooking your own meal, and much healthier of course. When I’m tempted to order in or eat out, I tell myself that I have food at home.
Weekly Meal Plans Simplify Your Weekly Grocery Trips
Before I started with my weekly meal plan, I had this plan: I went to the grocery store, bought random items that were on sale, and tried to make a meal with that. Some days I succeeded. Some days I didn’t. Sometimes I cooked an entire pack of lentils and I needed to eat lentils and rice the entire week. Weekly meal plans prevent that for you!
When I went for grocery shopping, I went without a list. I just bought whatever I wanted and was craving. That is a bad idea in general. You will buy much more than you need, you don’t know what you can make a meal out of, and you buy things you already have at home. This can lead to food waste, more time in the grocery store, and spending more money.
If you go to the supermarket with a grocery list, you will prevent yourself from buying unnecessary things and you will go through the supermarket with a goal in mind. I would advise to write everything down that you need for your weekly meal plan making it easier, quicker, and cheaper!
Weekly Meal Plans Make Your Life More Exciting
At times I get tired of my own creativity. I have 4-5 meals that I mostly eat and I rotate them. I get tired of eating the same meal after a while. With meal planning, you can think about what you want to make ahead of time. Meaning you don’t have to resort to the same meal over and over again – when you’re coming back from work there is already a meal that is planned, wooo!
Weekly Meal Plans Takes Away The Stress
When I need to think about what I want to eat every day I often ignore the question. I just make some eggs with some bread for dinner – after 30 minutes of contemplating that I want to eat.
Just as with anything else in life, having a written plan takes away the stress from the situation. That’s why when you start with weekly meal planning, you will take away a lot of stress around what do I need to prepare.
Weekly Meal Plan Example
A weekly meal plan can consist of anything you want it to be. You can decide to only prepare dinners, lunch, and dinner, or every meal you eat in a week. Whatever you prefer!
For me personally, I only meal plan for dinners. My breakfast is always the same every day of the week for the past year (oatmeal with chia seeds, flaxseeds, and vegan protein powder chocolate flavor). I like some consistency in my diet and I like to start the day with a power breakfast that will keep me full until lunch. For lunch, I eat whatever is leftover from previous nights’ dinner. For dinner, I meal plan and usually make sure that I have a little more to eat for lunches.
A week could look something like this:
- Monday – Wraps with veggies
- Tuesday – Rice with veggies
- Wednesday – Chile sin carne
- Thursday – Pasta with spinach and tomato
- Friday – Whitefish with potatoes and broccoli
- Saturday – Filled sweet potato
- Sunday – Couscous salad
I pretend now that I make a different meal every day of the week, but oftentimes I’m not that sophisticated. I batch-cook at the beginning of the week and I eat the same for a few dinners. It is really a personal preference.
Creating your personal weekly meal plan is super convenient. When you’re having a hard time thinking about a meal plan, using a meal planning service can be exactly what you need. They tell you what to buy and have eating suggestions for you.
For my personal meal plan, I use my own favorite meals, my favorite recipes from the $5 Meal Plan, and sometimes I even browse the web for food (mostly Pinterest to be honest).
Weekly Meal Plan Heaven – $5 Meal Plan
$5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a weekly meal plan with a shopping list, for just $5 a month! To prevent you’re not meal planning and going out to eat every day of the week, this can be the perfect solution.
The concept is that they send you every week a new meal plan, with every meal being less than $5. You can select gluten-free meals, soy-free meals, dairy-free meals, or vegetarian meals. On top of that, you get the most popular dishes in a PDF version available to you directly.
$5 Meal Plan offers you a 14-day trial. If you’re not sure if it will benefit you, you can try it out for 14 days and see where you end up. If you sign up for this weekly meal plan, you can save money, time, and stress.
Each week you will receive from $5 Meal Plan: six dinner options, one lunch meal, one breakfast meal, one dessert, and one ‘other’ meal – this can be a beverage or a snack.
You can sign up for $5 Meal Plan here!
Are you creating weekly meal plans? Do you use any meal planning service?