Now I know we may be touching on a polarising subject here, as my market customers are either very firmly in the ‘gosh yes’ camp or they are in the ‘heck no’ camp and never the two shall meet but, let’s talk Meal Planning.
Right, so I may have scared off a few of you but, if you are still reading this, let’s discuss the three benefits of Meal Planning: saving money, reducing food waste, and saving time on daily meal decisions.
Meal planning helps you save a significant amount of money by:
- Smart Shopping: Planning meals in advance allows for efficient grocery shopping, helps you to stick to a budget and means you can avoid impulse purchases.
- Utilising Leftovers: Incorporating planned leftovers into future meals stretches ingredients, reducing the need for additional purchases. At least twice a week we have leftovers for dinner to make it a bit easier on busy weeknights.
- Bulk Buying and Discounts: Meal planning enables you to take advantage of bulk buying options and discounts on staple items, resulting in long-term savings. We’ll often bulk-buy meat and then portion it up for the freezer for future dinners. We then plan future meals around what we already have on hand.
Meal planning actively contributes to reducing food waste by:
- Controlled Portions: Planning meals helps portion ingredients effectively, minimizing overbuying and excess food waste. If we are planning a stir-fry one night and Kale is going to be on the grocery list, we know we’ll have leftovers so we plan the menu around how to use it up i.e. sautéed and served with scrambled eggs for a weekend breakfast. Delish!
- Repurposing Leftovers: Creatively using planned leftovers in new dishes prevents ingredient waste. Leftover Roast Chicken can become a quick noodle lunch or sandwich for the kids’ lunchbox. They get a delicious lunch, we use up all the meat and nothing gets wasted – win-win.
- FIFO Principle: Organizing your kitchen using the “first in, first out” principle ensures that ingredients closest to expiration are prioritized and consumed first, minimizing waste. We have a smaller container that sits inside our fridge crisper drawer so that before any new fruit or vegetables are added to the crisper, we’ll move the old produce to inside the container so that we all (yep, even the kids) know what needs to be eaten first.
Meal Planning streamlines your kitchen routine, saving you valuable time by:
- Efficient Preparation: Preparing ingredients in advance reduces cooking time during busy weekdays. If we are having a stir fry on Saturday, we’ll chop twice the ingredients needed so we can whip up a quick, healthy dinner on Monday night.
- Streamlined Shopping: Consolidating grocery shopping into one trip based on a comprehensive list reduces the need for frequent store visits. Better yet, if you are ordering your groceries online, you can avoid supermarket trips altogether (we do this, I can highly recommend it!).
- Simplified Decision-Making: Meal Planning eliminates the daily stress of deciding what to cook, no more staring into the fridge at 5pm hoping inspiration will jump out at you.
Meal Planning offers a powerful combination of benefits, including saving money, reducing food waste, and saving time. Whether you’re a busy professional, a budget-conscious individual, or an eco-conscious consumer, Meal Planning provides a practical and efficient solution to optimize your kitchen routine.