As we begin 2017, many people are focused on finding ways to improve their health and well-being. One of the keys to reaching any goal in our lives is preparation. As best-selling author and leadership coach John Maxwell says, “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”. Whether your goal is to increase energy, decrease stress, balance hormones, or lose some extra fat, planning high-quality nutrition is an important factor to improve your overall health and well-being.
Two of the main reasons people give for not eating healthy are not enough time or energy. They come home from work at the end of the day exhausted or stressed and have no idea what to make dinner, so they end up snacking on processed foods or ordering less than healthy take out options. Meal planning solves the daily “what’s for dinner?” dilemma. It’s also one of the secrets of people who successfully lose weight and keep it off.
If you haven’t tried meal planning and aren’t sure if it’s for you, here are five benefits to encourage you that it is totally worth it!
1. Sets you up for success to reach your health goals:
By having your meals either pre-planned or pre-made, you are taking one less decision out of your daily routine. You don’t have to ask yourself at every meal “what should I eat?”. Instead, you are simply looking at your meal plan and preparing that meal to eat. If you’ve made the meal ahead of time, all you need to do it take it out of the fridge or freezer. Fewer daily eating decisions mean you are less likely to make poor food choices when you rushed, stressed or tired. An extra benefit is you can free up that decision-making brain power for whatever else is important to you!
What if I were to tell you that for this week, a personal chef was going to pre-make all of your meals and have them ready in your fridge for you? How hard would it be to just eat those meals all week? Pretty easy, right? Well, you are the architect of your health and can be your own personal chef and make that happen. It takes less time than you think, and your return on initial investment of time preparing meals is priceless. Your health is your greatest wealth.
2. Saves Time & Energy
Taking 30 mins on the weekend to plan out what meals you will have during the week saves you time and energy trying to decide what to eat at every meal of the day during the week. Just think, how many times a week do you open the fridge and try to figure out what you can make with the random ingredients you have on hand?
It saves you extra trips to the grocery store since you will know what groceries you need and can get them all in one trip.
Planning ahead for your lunches also saves you time from going out to eat on your lunch break, and could save you as much as an hour of productive time in your workday.
3. Saves Money
Eating out adds up fast! The more meals have planned ahead of time, the less you will spend on going out for lunch or grabbing take-out for dinner. If you want an extra incentive, you can have a goal of what you want to use the money you saved on, like traveling to that destination you’ve always wanted to go to!
When you plan ahead, you can buy all of the groceries you need in one shopping trip, instead of going to the grocery store on the way home from work or when you realize you need a certain ingredient to make that dish you love! The less frequently you need to stop in at the grocery store, the less likely you are to purchase extra food because it’s on special or you are having a craving.
4. Less Stress
How many times have you skipped lunch because you didn’t bring food and you weren’t close to anywhere healthy to purchase food? Then experienced low blood sugar and low energy in the afternoon which increased your stress?
How often do you get home and are trying to decide what to make for dinner while your kids are cranky or crying because they are hungry too? Yep, that’s stressful.
5. Decreases Waste
We’ve already mentioned that meal planning saves trips to the grocery store, which also means you are using less gas! (unless you are biking to get your groceries, and that I would totally applaud you for!)
The average family wastes 40% of the fresh food they buy. That’s almost half! How does this happen? Some of the beautiful produce you bought on the weekend didn’t have a specific plan to get eaten and ends up going bad in the back of the fridge. So you throw it out, and this food unnecessarily ends up in landfills. If that doesn’t bother you, think of it like throwing your hard-earned money in the trash. Not a great picture, is it? And it could have easily been prevented with a little bit of planning.
If you know you want to start meal planning but aren’t sure where to start, we’d love to help! Contact us today to set up an appointment and we’ll get you set up for meal planning success.