Each winter, we reflect on our actions from the past year and consider personal resolutions for the one to come. Often, these resolutions include adopting healthier habits, such as eating more nutritious foods, exercising more or getting better sleep. While big, overarching goals are easy to identify, research shows that to successfully make change, we should set more specific goals.
Meal planning is a wonderfully practical New Year’s resolution to help you meet those health-related goals. Simply put, meal planning is choosing what your meals are going to be for the upcoming week, then shopping for the ingredients. You can also extend meal planning to meal prepping – preparing part (or all) of the recipes ahead of time to assemble or reheat later in the week.
Check out meal planning’s benefits to your physical and financial health, as well as the health of our planet.
1. A common reason people don’t eat healthy is that they don’t have time. Meal planning prepares you with convenient, healthy food choices – so you don’t have to depend on the drive thru at the last minute.
2. Meal planning and prepping can help reduce stress by cutting down the amount of time we spend grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning during the week.
3. The process of planning meals brings awareness to what and how much we are eating, which is a practice in mindfulness and portion control.
4. Grocery shopping with a list is more efficient. By sticking to the list, we can avoid over-buying and impulse purchases.
5. Having a plan for meals throughout the week helps ensure that healthy food is conveniently available when we want it, which can lead to less money spent on fast food and takeout.
Health of Our Planet
6. In the United States, 30-40% of our food supply is wasted. We can reduce waste in our own households by knowing how all our groceries are going to be used, ensuring no food gets left behind.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s an easy way to get the whole family involved in the kitchen. If you are looking for inspiration to get started, check out my 7-day Sample Meal Plan. The reward is guaranteed to be delicious!