Meal planning for beginners is a great way to not only save a bit of money. But also a great way to better your health. Here are 5 benefits to meal planning and a quick guide on how to get started based on our own personal experience.
5 Reasons Meal planning for beginners is great!
Meal planning saves you money
It doesn’t matter how catchy the menu log song is when Snoop dogg is singing it. It will always be more expensive than cooking at home.
Cooking at home is the inexpensive option especially when you base your meal plan on what is on special and in season. Knowing what you’re going to eat for dinner or any meal beforehand saves you from the temptation of takeaways. Saving you money.
Meal planning saves you time
The practice of sitting down and actually planning will cost you a little time to start off with, yes. But once you’ve decided what you are eating for the week you’ll be saving time in the supermarket from dazing around the aisles being tempted by all manner of ‘treats’.
Ever find yourself staring ominously into the void of your freezer. With not the faintest idea of what your stomach feels like for dinner. That’s a waste of time that meal planning crushes.
Meal planning reduces food waste
Planning meals around what ingredients you already have in your pantry and freezer helps to minimize waste. When planning, check which foods you have and cook from oldest to newest. Fresh produce should be cooked and eaten first. If you can’t cook all the produce you have, there is always the option to freeze items for another week. Freezing is different for some items. Identifying which ingredients you have sitting there the longest stops it from ending up in the bin once it’s past its use by date. That can of corn beef in the pantry you bought months ago, make something with it!
Meal planning helps with a balanced diet
Putting thought into what you’re making ahead of time gives you the option to plan balanced meals. It will save you from grabbing out that steak and just having fried chips with it. If your meal plan is done correctly, you will have protein, carbohydrates and fruits and/or vegetables with every meal.
Meal planning gives you variety
When you don’t plan you end up making the same dishes over and over. Ever grab mince out and always just think, Spag Bol? The options are a lot more than the classic bolognese. Planning will give you the variety and luxury of deciding to cook something different with the same ingredients you’ve always had. Not to mention, increase your culinary skills!
It’s time to plan:
If you are a couple, work as a team. When we do this I (Sarne) am the one up and in the fridge and pantry calling out what ingredients we have. Whilst steph takes down which items we need to eat soonest. Compiling the list, prioritizing which foods are to be consumed soonest.
If you are single, do it the exact same way. Make a list of all the ingredients you have that you’d like to use first.
This isn’t the time to make a grocery list. You are just there taking notes of what items you have already in your home.
Now you have a list of which ingredients in your kitchen are a priority to eat next. It’s time to plan meals around them. Get some extra inspiration from recipe sites when your deciding what to cook.
As a suggestion, don’t eat the same thing more than 2 times a week and not on consecutive days. You will end up hating it like we did. Make your meal ideas fun, healthy and different to your usual taco tuesday (although taco tuesday never gets old).
Write out what meals you plan to have using each of the ingredients you’ve decided to eat that week. If you require more ingredients to create a meal, that’s where we get to the next step.
Now you know what you are going to eat that week. It’s time to write out your grocery list. Since you already have your meals planned with the items you have already at home. It’s time to check those meals again and see if there are any ingredients in them you will need to add to your grocery list.
The grocery list should be used as a kitchen replenishment. With minimal waste in mind. You don’t want to overstock your kitchen with foods you won’t eat. Ending up in the same pre meal planning clutter money waste as before.
List down items you need to add for your meal plan. Stick to the list.
Meal planning for beginners:
Have fun with it. There are no set rules to meal planning. Although these may sound like rules, they’re not. Think of this as a friendly account of our experience meal planning. We’ve been doing this for a long while now and can honestly say. Plan to use the oldest ingredients to the newest. When we plan, we plan with a mindset of minimizing our waste. Therefore maximizing our savings on groceries.