Meal Planning: Benefits, Methods, Alternatives

What is meal planning?

When I got married, I was taken aback with the harsh reality of cooking meals thrice a day, each day, every day.

Please don’t get me wrong here. Let me explain what I mean.

Cooking meals is not difficult for me, deciding what to cook is!

My husband worked in night shifts, and I worked in usual Indian hours. So deciding a meal accordingly used to be a big challenge for me. And imagine my plight when I had to take care of the nutrients part as well, in addition to providing healthy and tasty meals along with!

Initially, I did not bother much about planning the meals in advance, and cooked whatever was available, or whatever we liked. But after a few days, this process looked pretty daunting to me.

This made me plan meals for the next day a night before. A couple of weeks later, bored with the task of everyday planning, I started my search on ‘Google Baba’ for meal planning. And oh boy! My happiness knew no bounds 😊

The content present on internet for meal planning is so diverse and wide. I read them all, took what I liked, copied what was relevant for me, and from that day onwards, this ’10-minute’ weekly task of Meal Planning is my BFF!

And once I entered motherhood, the advantages of meal planning have multiplied. With so much things going on with life simultaneously on a daily basis, I feel happy to be relieved of one additional (and irritating) task of deciding what to cook three times a day, every day.

Benefits of Meal Planning

  • Optimizing Purchases and Saving Money– When you plan your meals a week in advance, the required food items/groceries can be purchased and stored in one go, thus letting go of the need to running back to the grocery store time and again. Also, purchasing in bulk saves money and you tend to order less food online! (Duhh! We know that, right?!)
  • Saving Time: With meals planned, you save time deciding what to cook thrice a day, seven days a week. Also, when we know what to cook the next day, the advance preparation helps too.
  • Eat Healthy, Seasonal, Fresh Foods: With weekly meal planning, you can keep track and incorporate your daily nutrient requirements with local, seasonal fresh food items.
  • Stress Less: Trust me, being a mother, I know how stressful mom-life is, wondering whether you are feeding your child the IDEAL BALANCED DIET: right quantity, the right nutrients, the right quality. And it is so comforting to know that you are taking care of this important aspect of your child’s growth so responsibly.
  • Creates Food Awareness: A meal plan makes you aware of all your meals and snacks and keeps you accountable to yourself and members of your household. Also, do involve your kids whenever possible, as it helps them in understanding life lessons like seasons, fruits and vegetables, budgeting, planning, where does the food come from, and much more.
  • Avoids Wasting Food: Meal planning guides you to buy and prepare the right quantity, thus limiting food wastage.

Source:  Cook Smarts

Free Printable and Customizable File

If you have the basic editing skills, then this file is perfect for you. Click on the file below, and save the free template for yourself.

Simple add the names of the dishes you prepare at your home JUST ONCE, and you are ready for a lifetime. Although it is really simple, I’d love to assist you in case you wish me to help you in customizing it for you.

Free Printable Template

Here we are, with the classic pen and paper method of meal planning. This is especially made keeping in mind the Indian food habits. Simply click below to download your free copy.

Have you ever tried meal planning? Do try meal planning once for the upcoming week, and share your experience with us.

Until next time, take care!

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