Meal Planning is a great tool to help you to eat healthy when you feel you are just too busy! The key word in this statement is ‘feel’. If you put value on something, you will allow time for it in your busy day.
I know that your day feels full to the brim already and how could you possibly fit another thing in!
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However, you can fit your health into your day – you cannot afford not to! To start with you need to do this in a very mindful way, then over time it will become a habit.
When you lead a busy life, it is ridiculously hard to put yourself first. You are so busy focusing on what needs to be achieved next, that you forget to put your health at the top of the list of things to focus on. Your health is suffering because of this.
You need to make a conscious decision to put your health first, you need to put your own oxygen mask on before attempting to help everyone else around you. But how?
This is all very good and well in writing, but how do you actually put yourself first? Especially when your current habits put yourself in last place every single time.
First of all you need to consciously make an effort every day to value your health. This may be in the form of self talk, positive thinking, deep breathing, eating well, or exercising.
Grab our free printable meal planning sheet here:
One thing that works for everyone is meal planning. We know that it works for everyone, because everybody needs to eat and the food that everybody eats significantly impacts their health.
Planning your meals for the week (or fortnight) can significantly increase the amount of healthy food you are consuming which over all will impact on your health and well being.
After a long day at work or caring for your family, the last thing you want to think about is ‘what’s for dinner?’
By meal planning, this takes the thinking part out of ‘what’s for dinner?’. It allows you to create dinner without the dread of having to think about what to cook with the ingredients you have in the fridge.
You will feel much more ‘at peace’ with your food choices when you know exactly what you going to cook ahead of time.
You will also know that you have all of the ingredients on hand.
Save Money with Meal Plans
Meal planning allows you to save a significant amount of money. You may be spending anywhere between $30-$200+ a week on take out.
You grab it on the way home from work because you are in a tired state and could not possibly think about what to cook when you get home – trust me, I get it.
Shooting around the drive thru feels a much easier option as it requires zero thinking and zero planning.
However, try meal planning. You know exactly what you are having for dinner that night and you will drive right on past those take outs and head home to cook.
Save money at the grocer
Meal planning will also save you money at the grocer because you no longer are buying random items of food, here there and everywhere.
I often wonder to myself ‘why did I buy 2 loaves of bread and 2 bags of dried pasta’ (every week) as I am stacking in the cupboard next to my 100 other bags of pasta.
What was I planning on doing with my freezer full of bread and my cupboard full of bags of pasta?
Now, instead of wasting money on products that just sit in the cupboard, I buy only the ingredients I actually need and I save a lot of money this way.
I simply look at my meal plan for the week and then work out from there the shopping list.
Each week I choose my meals I would like to make, then using recipes I can make a shopping list that I then tick off the items I already have.
Another trick I have now started doing is importing that list into my local supermarkets online store and ordering online.
This way I save even more money because I only buy what I need, not things that look yummy as I walk up and down the lanes.
I’ve also recently discovered that Amazon has a Prime Pantry Service.
This Amazon Prime Pantry Service allows your groceries and household products to be delivered to your house.
They provide low prices and deals/coupons.
Very, very handy for us busy folk!
Some of you may get free shipping which is a huge bonus!
They also have Amazon Fresh which allows you to order all your fresh foods – including meat and vegetables!
An amazing service, delivered to your door.
Yes! Don’t you have enough stress in your life already? The world we live in is full of stress, we need to reduce this in any way possible.
Meal planning is a great way to reduce stress. You spend part of one day a week thinking about what you will eat over the week and then that is it.
You no longer need to stress about what is for dinner while you are driving home from work at 6:30pm or while your kids are running around yelling that they are hungry.
Meal planning makes life simple and organized. Who doesn’t like simple and organized?
Save Time with Meal Prepping
Meal prepping is a great time saver.
I used to think that racing around a drive thru was the quickest option however, the drive thru is often very long and you end up sitting there for 20 minutes anyway (because let’s face it, nobody wants to walk in to get the meal!)
…but 20 minutes in the kitchen and I could have made a very simple, yet healthy meal!
Using a prep day is a great way to save time throughout your week.
You need to decide on a day in your week that you are the least busy on.
This is a Sunday for me, although if your working shifts or are busy on a Sunday you may choose another day. You set yourself roughly 2 hours and within this 2 hours you will prepare your food for the week.
How to use a prep day
First you need to decide on your meals for the week. You can do this by manually adding your own meals to a board or piece of paper.
I found that this did take me some time to sort (allow longer time) because I liked to spend time searching the internet for a healthy new menu to try each week.
Once you have got your week sorted as to what meals you will have each day, you need to decide on the ingredients you need.
Then I just got through and tick off any of the ingredients that I already have at my house.
Go and get your ingredients – for tips and tricks around food shopping check out our post around buying and storing food.
When you return
It is time to prepare your meals as much as possible.
Some people like to cook and store their foods in the fridge for the week during this time, or if you are like me, you may prefer to just prepare your meals and then cook on the day you are eating them.
You simply need to work out what works best for you and your situation.