Meal plan is the simple act of planning and writing down any of your meals for the week ahead of time. Plan for yourself or plan for your family. Plan to eat wholesome meals, and plan a night out or two. Plan every snack and meal, or simply plan your lunches so you don’t spend money on restaurant food during the week. A meal plan can be as flexible or as rigid as you want it to be!

It doesn’t really matter what you plan, as long as you thought about it! The goal is not to start from zero for every single meal. There are a lot of reasons why we think having a meal plan and meal prepping rock, but we think they all fit into three main categories: saving time, saving money, and having more control over your food choices.

Check-out these benefits of having a weekly meal plan.

meal plan

Portion Control

Planning your own meals will allow you to see how much you’re actually eating. This also prevents you from overeating at restaurants, which tend to serve a way bigger portion than you should actually be eating.

Eat healthy

When you’re hungry and your blood sugar drops, you’re more inclined to eat whatever you can get the fastest. This is why some of us settle for the closest fast food joint with unhealthy options. Meal planning eliminates this issue when you have a balanced meal at your fingertips, filled with nutrient-dense food prepped and ready to go!

Many times unhealthy foods are chosen because of convenience. If we can take the time out to plan meals, write a grocery list and have fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes available, they will become convenient and eaten more often.

Save time

Being hungry and realizing you have nothing planned is undoubtedly stressful. Instead of standing in front of your fridge or pantry deciding what to whip up, you can have your healthy meal ready in minutes. This also saves you the hassle of cleaning up after cooking.

When you start meal planning, try to identify one meal where you really need a time-saver, and then plan your meals with that in mind. Save yourself time on those busiest days by having meals already prepared, or by planning super simple quick meals you know the whole family loves.

Reduce grocery store trips

If your weekly menu is planned ahead of time, you can do your best to buy everything for the week in one trip, unless you somehow still forget things you need to buy.

Save money

Everyone can agree that saving money is something we all try to do, and meal planning is a great way to help. While you skip out on spending money at restaurants, meal planning also involves buying items in bulk, which can be a huge money saver. Sticking to what’s on the list also avoids impulse buys at the grocery store.

More control over food

Everyone is different, and everyone’s needs are different. When you plan ahead, you can make smart choices related to your own personal food needs and fitness needs, instead of grabbing something at the last minute. Meal planning can give you control over your food, and help you eating the right amount for you. Sometimes if you’re feeling excessively hungry, way too happy to be eating, or just using a different sized spoon, you can get totally varying/random portion sizes on the plate.

Avoid waisting food

When it comes to meal planning, you go to the grocery store with a plan, and know how you’re going to use all of the items. When every food has a purpose, you won’t have to worry about items in your fridge going to waste.

Whether you’re cooking for your entire family or just yourself, taking the time to plan your meals for the week ahead is definitely worth the effort. The key is just to set aside a little bit of time each week to do it.

Adds variety to your diet

Having a meal plan let you add various dishes to the table since you no longer give in to the same idea of a basic comfort meal. It will help you prepare new dishes everyday rather than eating the same diet for dinner. For instance, you can swap between a vegetarian and non-vegetarian dinner every alternate day which keeps nutrition in order.

Having a weekly meal plan will make a huge impact in your life. The more you get into the routine of pre-deciding your meals, the easier it will get. You will eat healthier, you will have time for yourself, your family will eat a quality meal each day and your pocket will thank you for it!