5 Things Menu Planning Can Do For You
Meal plans may sound overly structured and rigid for your desire for that element of surprise, but they could be the key to far reaching benefits.
1. Stay Organized
How much time do you waste staring in to your fridge and pantry wondering what to eat? And then once you have a recipe in mind, you realize you’re missing a key ingredient! Meal planning means you’ll know that all the ingredients you need are there ready for you to make into an amazing meal. Even all those small herbs and spices! Not only will planning save you time but having an organized meal routine can make for an organized mind and create structure in so many other areas of your life.
TIP: Do it your way, if it doesn’t suit to plan and shop for a week, than just do a few days at a time.
2. Save Money
We all know how tempting it is to impulse buy when you’re walking through the supermarket aisles. Buying unplanned items often leads to spending more than you budgeted. By planning your menu you’ll only buy what you need, in the right quantity.
TIP: Most supermarkets have an app that will structure your shopping list into the aisles where those products are found. Download the app and you’ll avoid the aisles you don’t need to go down, saving you time, money and caving into temptation.
3. Share The Load
Being the sole person responsible for preparing meals can be tiring. Post your menu plan in a visible place like the fridge so the whole household can be involved. You can avoid the repetitive “What’s for dinner?” question and make it easier for a helper to start preparation. While it’s lovely to have someone cook for you, if they use ingredients planned for later in the week, your plan will be in disarray – so communicate!
TIP: Choose just one recipe book or magazine each week and mark the page number of the recipes you’ll be making on to your menu plan. This will make it easier for everyone to know where to find the information.
4. Avoid Waste
How satisfying would it feel to know that on the last night of your weekly menu plan your fridge contains all the ingredients for one more perfect meal? No more floppy vegetables in the crisper and products past their use by date. The Natural Resources Defense Council report states that Americans throw away $165bn worth of food every year. That’s over $500 each. Avoiding waste is good for the environment as well as your budget. Imagine what you could do with an extra $500?
TIP: Only buy what you intend to eat and make sure it’s included in your menu plan. Many people fill the fruit bowl at the beginning of the week and then empty it when the fruit is rotten – all because there wasn’t a plan as to when that fruit was going to be consumed.
5. Be Healthy
Fuelling your body with healthy and nutritious food doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. Following a guide like the Portion Perfection Menu Plan will give you plenty of options and variety. By planning a weekly menu you can have your taste buds poised, ready in anticipation of your planned meal – so no conjuring up images of something less healthy.
TIP: It all comes down to portions. You can use your imagination with the evening meals to vary your protein, carbohydrate and vegetables / salad and experiment with your tablespoon of sauce – no recipe required!
BIO: Amanda Clark is an award winning dietitian with over 25 years experience and author / creator of Portion Perfection, a set of innovative visual tools that makes reducing food intake easier. The Portion Perfection Kit includes a pictorial portion guide, melamine portion plate and bowl and a 4 Week Weight Loss Menu Plan. There’s also a kit for those who have undergone weight loss surgery.