The USDA reports 30 to 40% of food in the food supply goes to waste, and consumers play a big role in that.
When was the last time you had to clear out your fridge from spoiled food?
You aren’t alone if that tends to be a weekly occurrence as you run out of time to prepare meals for you and your family. Yet, that is a habit you can curb by finding the benefits of meal planning. This process means you use the food you buy and gives you more time in your day-to-day.
Not convinced yet? Continue reading for five health benefits of meal planning and why you should start today.
1. Reduce Stress around Cooking
Long days at work often mean you carry over the stress from your office to the home space right around dinner time. Rather than relaxing into food prep, you may find a lot of anxiety about having to cook.
Meal planning means you can reduce the stress of needing to cook as you only need to warm and do some simple tasks at dinnertime!
You and your family will thank you for the easy, nutritious meal that appears before them at dinner without a hangry chef. It’s a plus that you will always have an answer to the ever-present ‘what’s for dinner’ question with a monthly meal plan at the ready.
2. Save Money
Do you know how much you spend eating out? That number can be overwhelmingly high for many because it’s easy to order overcooking food after a long day.
This is where the benefits of meal planning come to the money rescue.
You’ll be less likely to order out if you have a meal at the ready. You will also save money during grocery shopping because you know what you need. So long are the days of over-buying, which also means less food waste.
3. Spend More Time on Other Wellness Habits
One of the greatest benefits of meal planning is the time you buy back into your days, especially the hectic workdays.
Meal planning itself takes time. You need to do some food prep and cooking to portion out meals for the week. You may need to explore some new recipes to create a bit of excitement with meals.
Yet doing all of this one day a week means you gain 5 or 6 days where the expected time for cooking becomes free hours. You can use the time to de-stress, getting in a workout, doing a yoga session, or having a bubble bath. You can also use the time for family play, connecting over a game, playing in the yard, or watching a movie.
4. Eat Healthier, Home-cooked Food
It is easy to find a meal delivery service, order a pizza, or binge on ice cream when you have nothing prepared for your dinner. That is one of the fantastic benefits of meal planning: always having a nutritious meal at the ready.
You don’t know all the ingredients that restaurants use to prepare your food. Cooking at home allows you to see everything that goes into food prep, making it easy to track your intake, eat total servings of veggies, get enough protein, and more.
A home-cooked meal will be a healthier option than a restaurant-prepared one as you get what you need.
5. Stick to Good Portion Sizes
Everyone has different portions they need to energize their bodies. However, meals can often stray far off a healthy portion size without structure.
One of the major benefits of meal planning is routinely sticking to proper portion sizes for you. You can see what equal portions look like across a few days and know you are eating the best amount for your goals. A bonus is that you ensure you are hitting the proper food groups and checking off the nutrients your body needs.
Portion control means you are less likely to over or under-eat instead of getting the sustenance you need to succeed.
Try Out These Benefits of Meal Planning
The benefits of meal planning come down to more time in your schedule, less stress on your shoulders, and more money in your wallet. This, in turn, allows you to lead a healthier lifestyle that nourishes your body and soul.
Looking to make some other habit switches and live healthier? Read our other posts for ideas on simple changes to make today.