How Does Planning Meals For the Week Save You Time?
There are a lot of benefits that come with meal planning. Here’s how planning meals for the week can be a major time and money saver.
There is one pace for the average person in America, and then there is the pace of a mother. If you are married, with kids, you are likely hunting for ways to trim valuable time from your day. Planning meals for the week is one way to find time in your day and save some money.
As Giada can attest, meal planning can take many forms. Planning your meals for the week is different than prepping them for the week. Both can be effective time-savers though, so we’ll give you some tips for each.
Planning Meals for the Week – Some Strategies
It all sounds pretty straightforward until you sit down with a pen and a blank sheet of paper. The next thing you know, you draw a blank and can’t think of a single menu item.
- Take quick stock of your pantry; a visual check is okay. You want to see what staples you need to replenish so you can use to build on later.
- Record the items you know for sure you’ll need – mostly because you already buy them every week. Cereal, fruit, milk, etc. all of these can make your list now.
- Plan for the entire week if possible. There are some great tools which can help in this process, but you only want to plan for a few to leave space for leftovers.
- While considering those menu options, be mindful of what you can use from your pantry. If needed, double check you have the spices available that you’ll need for whatever dishes you’re preparing.
- Scan your list for omissions. At this point, you’re not looking for ingredients for those large menu items. You are hunting for things like snacks for the kids, popcorn for movie night, juice-boxes for the soccer game, and so on.
This routine may take some time during the first few attempts. Don’t give up! Like most other things you’ll improve your speed and accuracy over time. The goal here is to establish a pattern.
How Meal Planning Saves You
Now that you have a framework to use when you’re planning meals let’s look at some of the benefits.
The choices in most large-chain grocery stores can be overwhelming. By planning for the week, you have eliminated extra opportunities you may have had to wander the aisles. Planning is advantageous for you in a couple of ways:
Saving time is a huge advantage. Making fewer trips to the store is a pretty clear-cut way to save time in your hectic schedule. One of the other ways you are saving is in your bank account. That’s right… straight line savings right back to the wallet. Here’s how:
- Fewer trips back and forth to the store save more than just time. Cutting down saves on fuel too.
- Strolling the aisles, it’s tempting to throw things in the cart you may not need. Multiply this by every time you go, and you’re wasting a lot of money unnecessarily.
Another way planning meals for the week can save you is in your meal choices. If you are currently on a diet or you’re considering going on one, meal planning can help you remain strict. When planning meals, you’ll be less likely to add things you don’t need. You will have the opportunity to make good choices from the beginning and stick to them for the whole week.
There are a couple of ways planning meals for the week can even help you reduce stress. If you’re new or veteran parents that’s always on the go, reducing stress is something you want to incorporate into your day.
The first way is peace of mind. Imagine knowing you no longer have to swing by the store on the way home because you need 2-3 more things to put dinner together that night? It’s difficult to put a price tag the comfort you feel knowing everything you need is at home.
The second way you’ll be able to reduce stress is by eating healthier. Scientists have shown how losing weight can help your overall mood. Even if you’re not planning on dieting, selecting healthy non-processed ingredients is an excellent start.
The ultimate stress reliever is found by the money you’ll save. Money is a leading cause of stress in a marriage. Finding a tool for meal planning to manage your finances more efficiently is not just smart, it may be necessary.
One More Tip for Your Cart
We mentioned cutting down the number of trips you make to the store. It keeps you from walking the aisles and throwing in random food items you don’t need. Most grocery stores now offer a curbside pickup. There is probably at least one store in your area that has this service. Since you have already started meal planning, it is quick and easy to enter the list on a website.
Most will offer free pickup if you schedule your pickup time one day in advance. Grocery shopping this way will eliminate wandering those aisles completely! They will bring the groceries to your car, help you load them, and allow you to preview substitutions.
Next to meal planning, shopping this way is one of the most significant time and money savers we can recommend.
If you have any other questions on how to meal plan, or what menus you can use to introduce new recipes into your repertoire, contact us today for more information!