If you are curious if you should start meal planning, you’ll be surprised that there are many meal planning benefits!
It’s so much more than just knowing what you’ll have for dinner each night.
When you start meal planning, it’s weird how a little piece of paper can give you so much peace about one of the biggest stresses of the day. And one that occurs every day of the year…dinner!
How many times have my kids, or even my husband, asked me what is for dinner? Like a billion! And it’s even more stressful when you have no clue! Like a spotlight is on you and you have to perform kind of stressful…it’s not fun.
While the No Plan Method of meal planning might work great when I’m feeling creative, there are times when I need more structure just to make it through the a very hectic month.
As a mom of four kids and six cats, if I wait until the last minute to figure out what’s for dinner, we’ll end up eating out or calling for a pizza delivery. And that is not good for our budget or health.
The truth is, meal planning isn’t as complicated or tedious as it seems!
If you are a firm believer that meal planning isn’t for you, I’m going to show you the many meal planning benefits that have changed my life.
Meal Planning Benefits #1: Plan Ahead & Be Less Stressed
When I create a meal plan for my family, I know exactly what I’m going to make every night. That is a huge weight off my shoulders and one of the many meal planning benefits.
Since James went back to work, I am the primary dinner maker. So, since I do all the grocery shopping and cooking each week, I need a complete list of what I need to make so that I know what to buy. This pre-planning means I can do all the grocery shopping for the whole week in one day. And that makes me less stressed.
When my family inevitably asks what’s for dinner, I have an answer! Then the conversation usually ends by one of them asking to help with making the delicious dinner I’ve planned to make. Or they’ll ask if I need help to make it! Uh, yes, please! Help = less stress!
For those of you who have small kids, you know that if you say, “I don’t know” doesn’t work. They’ll usually end up asking a ton more questions, which can be stressful too.
When To Start Making Dinner
Having a meal plan in place lets me know when I need to start making dinner when to set my crockpot for a busy night.
If the meal needs to cook for an hour or two, I can plan on making sure to start the meal early, so it’s done by dinner time. I get really stressed when I finally come up with a meal to make and it takes hours to make and bake. Then dinner was so late by the time it was done that it’s almost bedtime. That makes me even more stressed out!
I always consult my calendar when making my meal plan. It helps to catch those days when I know I’ll be busying chauffeuring my kids around for sports, school, dental appointments, etc. This helps me plan on what type of meal I’m making. That helps me be less stressed and is one of the best meal planning benefits.
One of the family meal planning tips I use is to create a list of recipes that my family loves. Write down at least 15 recipes ideas so you can reuse them when you are tight on time to create a meal plan.
Meal Planning Benefits #2: More Family Time
If you don’t have a meal plan in place, when dinner finally rolls around, you will spend more time in the kitchen or on Pinterest trying to find something to make and with the ingredients you have. Then try to get it on the table fast.
With meal planning, you know exactly how long your prep and cook time will be, so you can start prepping things earlier in the week if you’d like.
Even if you don’t, you will save yourself time by meal planning because you aren’t spending precious time deciding what you’ll make!
This means I can spend more time with my family, and less time in the kitchen and one of the best meal planning benefits.
Looking for a new family board game? Check out these family friendly board games!
Some of the great family meal planning tips I use is brown two packages of meat at once, then freeze the other half for another meal.
I also make double the rice and freeze half. It’s so nice to have a portion of a meal already done!
Meal Planning Benefits #3: Skip The Drive-Thru
When our schedule starts to get crazy, and boy does it get crazy, our meal plan works even harder for us!
We use our schedule to create our meal plan, and because of this, we can plan for busy nights.
When we know we are going to be out late or don’t have a lot of time to cook. Then we can plan for something quick to prepare when we get home, like soup and sandwiches or have something waiting on us like a crock pot meal.
This means we aren’t wasting our money and food by hitting the drive-thru, and there is a nutritious meal waiting for us to make when we get home.
Skipping the drive-through means not only will we be eating healthier meals, but we’ll also be saving money too! It’s one of the meal planning benefits I love!
Meal Planning Benefits #4: Saves Me Money
Since we aren’t throwing food away and we are only buying what we need when we meal plan, we save so much money!
I know before I walk into the store how much I am going to spend. At the end of the week I know I won’t need to run to the store again because I’m out of food.
Meal planning allows me to save money on groceries by buying only what I need.
While meal planning may feel like a lengthy process, the benefits far out way any of the cons and why these meal planning benefits can benefit you too!
One of the best family meal planning tips I have come across when grocery shopping only once a week, is how much money I save! When I go into the store to pick up just a few items, I spend more than I thought I would. I always remember that we are out of this or that, that pie looks tasty and “Oh, look, it’s the clearance rack” that always makes me spend more.
Shopping once a week for your meal plan, will save you money!
Meal Planning Benefits #5: Waste Less
When you create a meal plan, you know exactly how much food you will need to buy for the week or month depending on how much you shop.
When you don’t know what you’ll be making, you’ll end up wasting more food, and overspending to compensate.
My meal plan allows me to see what I need to make each night to ensure I am not wasting any food, and I know I only have what I need each week.
Do you have items that are about to expire? Add them into Supercook and it will produce a recipe so you can use those ingredients up. Food waste = money wasted!
Are you convinced yet that these meal planning benefits are real?
Meal Planning Benefits #6: Try New Things
When meal planning, you should try to incorporate at least one new dish into your schedule each week to keep things exciting.
Without a meal plan, trying new things is extremely difficult. You don’t know how much food you have, and you’ll likely won’t have all the ingredients you need. Isn’t that frustrating?! That used to happen to me and then I would continually make the same things over and over. It got to be so boring.
When we create our meal plans, we make sure to include one new recipe a week. Then we make sure we’ll have all the ingredients to make it.
Don’t have a lot of crock pot meals in your arsenal? One of the family meal planning tips I use is to ask my friends to spam me with their best family meal planning tips crock pot recipes finds!
One of my good friends just sent me this recipe and we loved it! James even asked for it the next week!
These meal planning benefits will save you so much time, money, and stress every week.
So if you haven’t started meal planning yet, I highly suggest you give it a shot!
These meal planning benefits outweigh the time it takes and helps you to be less stressed.
Being prepared for dinner each night also helps you to create more family time. That makes it the best benefit out of all of them to start meal planning!