Meal Planning 101 – The Why

Part one of our meal planning 101 series – the why! Featuring many of the reasons for why I love to meal plan, including healthier choices, reduced stress, lower grocery bills and saved time.

A laptop, notebook and iced latte on a wooden table.

Let’s shake things up this morning. Because it’s Monday and we all need a little pizazz and fun stuff and happy happy to start the week off right.

We are going to have a little chat today about meal planning. Because I have an insane (insane!) love for it and it makes me all giddy inside.

I know, I’m weird. I’m an organizational freak so I can’t help but absolutely love it. Love it, love it!

I get a lot of questions from family and friends (many of whom think I’m nuts) about why and how I meal plan, so I thought it would be fun to talk about it a bit. Show you the method behind my madness.

So today, we’re covering the why. And later this week … the how. Because I tried to put it all in one post and apparently I have way too much to say.

Before we get started, this is not meant to be all preachy preachy or anything. This is just why I meal plan and why I love it. Lots of I’s in there. If you don’t love meal planning, that’s totally cool with me. We can still be friends.

So why do I meal plan you ask? Let’s discuss!

Two bowls of salad and a glass of water on a kitchen table.

1. Major Time Saver

I know meal planning may seem like more work upfront, but guys. It makes my life so. much. easier. I’ve been doing it for years – even way before I started blogging.

Once a week I make a full grocery list. For everything I need all week long – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks.

And then once a week I hit up the grocery store. No random trips driving back and forth because I forgot something. Done and done.

There is no staring in your fridge and pantry and wondering and debating what on earth you are going to make for dinner. It’s all planned in advance and everything is in the house.

There’s also no standing around at the store trying to decide what to buy. That grocery list is the golden ticket I tell you.

Several bananas on a wooden table.

2. Healthier Choices

We eat a whole lot more balanced when I meal plan because everything is planned out ahead of time. I make sure we’re getting plenty of greens, fruits, etc. etc. every week.

There are also a lot less unhealthy choices available in the house, so we eat better overall (since I stick like crazy to my grocery list).

The only time this plan goes south is when my husband comes to the store with me. He is the king of “oooo do you see these chips? we need these chips, really we do.”

While I do build in days for heading to restaurants with the husband or friends, overall we eat out a lot less.

And I most certainly make wayyyy healthier choices at home. I can have a hard time saying no to super-cheesy-full-of-bad-stuff-for-you-appetizers when I’m out.

A bunch of red grapes on a wooden table.

3. Budget Budget

Even with all the cooking that I do for the recipes I share here on the blog, we still save a significant amount of money by eating at home the majority of the time.

Less eating out + less ordering take-out = more money in my pockets. Which is always a good thing.

We maybe eat out once a week, if that, so we save quite a bit by making our own lunches, snacks, coffee drinks, you catch my drift.

An open fridge stocked with lots of groceries.

4. Less Stress

There’s a plan in place. I know what I am making every weeknight.

When the husband starts asking when and what’s for dinner … I already know. 

For a stress-bucket like me, this is huge.

Also, I mean how happy does it make you looking into a freshly-packed full fridge. I sometimes just stand in front of it and stare.

Several fresh brussels sprouts scattered on a wooden table.

5. Waste Less

I can be a major cheapo when it comes to certain things and since I already bought groceries for a meal, you better believe that I am not spending money going out to eat instead and wasting what I bought. Thank you very much.

My husband finds this comical … I just think it’s good sense. Yes, there are days when things happen and a meal gets pushed, but that’s not the norm for us at this point.

And since I am buying all my groceries from a list, I don’t end up with random items (which I don’t need) that I then need to figure out how on earth to use. This is especially big when it comes to perishable items.

There’s a lot less of throwing things out since they went bad before I could put them to use.

And if there is anything that drives me nuts, it’s wasting food. So another huge win for me.

A chalkboard with a weekly meal plan.

Side note – if you are looking for a conversation starter – get a chalkboard that you can write your meal plan on for your house. Every single person that comes over wants to chat about it.

So have I convinced you to start meal planning? Good.

Check back Wednesday for part two! I’m going to show you my super awesome method for meal planning (some would say it’s borderline obsessive but I’m going with awesome instead).

Additional Meal Planning Posts You Might Enjoy: