UW Health had recently posted an article on meal planning which got me thinking about the benefits behind our own meal planning. My wife and I had made the decision to focus more on meal planning (which subsequently led to us eating increasingly healthier) sometime less than a year ago. How noticeable has the change been?
We’ve noticed several benefits- not the least of which is some weight loss (my usually accumulated semi-substantial winter pounds have vanished this long winter). Granted, we had been eating somewhat healthier/with more vegetables for a long while before this. Occasionally, our pre-meal-planning conversations would go something like this around dinnertime, though…
Me: “What are you hungry for?”
Her: “I don’t know. You?”
Me: “I could go for anything.”
(Cue trip to selected nearby fast food restaurant.) And… scene.
Now repeat this on a somewhat-weekly basis, and we’ve added weekly fast food runs to our meal planning. The aforementioned UW Health article refers unspecifically to a survey about increased fast food consumption. While we weren’t at the 5 meals threshold they reference, the fast food adds up (but that’s not to imply that I have completely sworn off fast food, though…)
We have found that we don’t need to plan beyond the upcoming week, but planning, cooking a meal, and eating associated leftovers has helped our budget also. We are not paying extra (with calories or $) for convenience and are still saving time. Freezable foods are simple to store in our chest freezer for later, as well. Give it a try- what do you have to lose?
A pantry staples reference/recommendation to get you started: http://www.uwhealth.org/files/uwhealth/docs/pdf4/GRFW_Prepare_Pantry_flier.pdf