Is meal planning a part of your daily routine? OK here’s another way to look at it, yesterday when your kids left for school did you send them off with a brown paper bag lunch or with some money in their pocket? After work tonight are you planning to cook a meal at home or are you going to stop at a restaurant on your way home and grab takeout?
Some families avoid cooking whenever possible because it takes time to prepare, cook and clean up afterwards. However on the other hand cooking at home can save a lot of cash that can be spent somewhere else.
The key to making your kitchen life easy is meal planning. Like most things in life planning helps you save time and money. In a nutshell, planning makes your life easier. The same is said for your meals.
Here are four reasons why meal planning is a great idea for your family:
Being prepared helps avoid impulse spending
When you plan your meals you’re always prepared. This helps minimize unnecessary spending on snacks and food during the school or work day. Spend 10 minutes every night and pack lunches for the family with dinner leftovers, sandwiches, fruits and veggies -- maybe even a little sweet treat.
That way in the morning you can all just grab and go. Packing your lunch the night before makes sure you don’t spend any money during the day that you don’t have to.
Avoid cravings and junk food binges
This is a polite way of saying that meal planning helps you avoid gaining weight. Bringing your lunch and having food to snack on during the day helps avoid late afternoon runs to get your sugar and caffeine fix. If you snack lightly during the day your belly will always be full and you can avoid the coffee shop or vending machine.
Save money by buying in bulk
Sitting down and planning your menu for the week lets you shop in bulk. Shopping in bulk saves money because buying more product lowers your cost per unit and that’s just smart shopping.
Buying a big bag of rice and using it over several months is a great way to buy in bulk, but so is using the same ingredients in various dishes throughout the week. A mix of onions and peppers can be fajitas one night and stir fry the next.
Waste less and avoid throwing out food
Throwing food in the garbage is literally like throwing away money. When you plan your meals you know exactly how much of each ingredient you’ll need and therefore you can avoid any waste.
One of the biggest mistakes consumers make when shopping -- other than paying too much -- is buying too much. Think about your groceries last week, how much food did you throw away? Now put a price on each item and add up how much money you threw away.
Before you go to the grocery store this week sit down to plan your meals and make a list of all the ingredients you need. Trust me your wallet will be thankful.
What’s your best meal planning tip?
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