Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or just improve your diet, meal planning is an easy step to help you reach your goals. There are numerous advantages of planning out your meals in advance that can not only save your waistline, but also improve your health.
"With anything in life, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That applies to meal planning as well," says Silvia Veri, registered dietitian at the Beaumont Weight Control Center - Canton. "Planning meals and snacks ahead of time increases the chance for success, it increases the likelihood a healthier food choice will be made."
Check out these benefits of meal planning:
LEARN PORTION CONTROL
Planning your own meals will allow you to see how much you’re actually eating. This also prevents you from overeating at restaurants, which tend to serve a way bigger portion than you should actually be eating.
When you’re hungry and your blood sugar drops, you’re more inclined to eat whatever you can get the fastest. This is why some of us settle for the closest fast food joint with unhealthy options. Meal planning eliminates this issue when you have a balanced meal at your fingertips, filled with nutrient-dense food prepped and ready to go!
"Many times unhealthy foods are chosen because of convenience," explains Veri. "If we can take the time out to plan meals, write a grocery list and have fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans available, they will become convenient and eaten more often."
Being hungry and realizing you have nothing planned is undoubtedly stressful. Instead of standing in front of your fridge or pantry deciding what to whip up, you can have your healthy meal ready in minutes. This also saves you the hassle of cleaning up after cooking.
Everyone can agree that saving money is something we all try to do, and meal planning is a great way to help. While you skip out on spending money at restaurants, meal planning also involves buying items in bulk, which can be a huge money saver. Sticking to what’s on the list also avoids impulse buys at the grocery store.
AVOID WASTING FOOD
When it comes to meal planning, you go to the grocery store with a plan, and know how you’re going to use all of the items. When every food has a purpose, you won’t have to worry about items in your fridge going to waste.
Whether you’re cooking for your entire family or just yourself, taking the time to plan your meals for the week ahead is definitely worth the effort. The key is just to set aside a little bit of time each week to do it.
Veri advises, "Just take one meal at a time. Try to make the best choice possible for that meal!"