Planning your plate ahead of time can really change the way you think about health and fitness – just make sure you have plenty of space in your fridge or freezer!
For those of you that don’t know, meal planning is the process of batch-cooking a set of meals in preparation for the upcoming week. In some instances, you might portion out 3 meals for the week – you could even plan every single meal for the next fortnight!
Why bother? The answer is fairly simple. Meal planning can drastically improve your health. According to a 2017 study published by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, meal planning was heavily linked with better and healthier food variety and reduced rates of obesity.
Health isn’t the only reason. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of all the reasons why we think meal planning is great!
1. It can be a real time-saver
If you’re not planning meals, it’s quite likely that you’ll begin to feel a sense of fatigue with regards to cooking every single night of the week. When this happens, you’re much more likely to give up and order in – think of all the time you’d save!
Well, we’ve got a better solution. By spending a bulk of time on a Sunday night planning and preparing meals for the upcoming week, you can ensure you not only save time cooking every night of the week, you’ll also reduce the time wasted planning meals only to bail and get a takeaway! When you have a set routine of meals lined up each night, you’ve created an efficient system of refuelling. That means you’ll have more time to spend elsewhere!
2. Eat a more varied diet
As the study referenced above mentions, meal planning can lead to a more varied diet. Naturally, if you’re meal planning, you’re probably putting more thought into what you’re eating. You’ll have to do a single, bulk shop each week and it’s likely that you’ll plan this out ahead of time. By planning the ingredients that go into each meal, you’ll have a hand in creating a more varied diet.
If you know you’re going to be eating the same meals for the upcoming week, it’s a given that you’ll probably put more thought into making these meals as balanced and varied as possible!
3. Helps maintain portion control
As well as making a more varied diet, when you meal plan you’ll pay more attention to the quantities of food you’re consuming. If you’re cooking in bulk one night a week, you’ll need to pay a lot more attention to the volume of your ingredients and the output of your batch cooking.
By batch-cooking, you’re creating a more consistent and regular portion control across the week. Not only will this help with dieting, but also making your meals more cost effective!
4. Save yourself some money!
This one is pretty obvious. By meal-planning and ensuring you always have a prepared source of food, you lessen the need to panic-buy takeaways throughout the week. We’re not saying you shouldn’t ever have a takeaway, just that by meal planning, you’re much more unlikely to be struck by that last minute decision.
Not only that, by meal planning also tightens your budget. When it comes to the big Sunday batch-cook, you’ll spend less by doing all your shopping at once than sporadic trips spread across the week!
5. Reduce Your Food Waste
This one ties in nicely with point number 3. If you’re cooking with more specific volumes in order to separate out into several portions, you’re almost guaranteed to reduce the amount of food waste you produce. Not only food waste, but packaging, too. It’s often the case that singular or smaller quantities of food still use a heightened amount of packaging – by buying in bulk you’ll reduce both the packaging per meal and the food waste across the week.
Reducing food waste isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for you pocket, too. The less food waste you produce, the more value for money you’re getting with every purchase.
6. Create a habitual routine
Without a clearly defined, regular eating schedule, you’re much more likely to miss out on that varied, healthy lifestyle we mentioned early. When our blood sugar drops, we get cravings to satisfy our hunger as soon as possible. That could be with anything, from takeaways to snacks!
Creating a meal plan helps to keep all this in check. Eating a regular times helps to simultaneously regulate your body – you’ll eventually get used to your new routine and crave snacks less.
Our Final Say
Meal planning is a fairly achievable solution to both health and productivity targets. By preparing food in large quantities, you can save time and money, reduce your food waste and eat a more balanced and varied diet! As well as all those benefits, it’s also a great habit to get into!
If you need help sticking to habits, whether it be health and fitness goals or a desire to kick bad habits, take a look at our services and see if Ceed can help you develop long-term solutions!