The value of meal planning

Meal planning is something I do not do often enough and yet every time I sit down and plan my meals for a week, I can see why it is such a good thing!

One item that has helped inspire me to start meal planning again are the meal planning/grocery list sheets (with a magnet that sticks to my fridge) that my friend Beth gave me for my birthday!

Picture 232

As you can see, my ideas change as the week goes on, so I guess I should start writing in pencil! 😉

Writing out what a week is going to look like helps me plan my grocery list accordingly, which means less money spent at the store than usual. On these particular sheets, having the grocery list right next to the meal plan is really helpful. I took this photo before I wrote out what I needed but on the sheet I used for this week, the grocery side was full!

Having a plan also helps leftovers get eaten and most of the time I end up using stuff that has been hanging around in the pantry for a while. So no wasting food either!

It’s also a good way to keep yourself accountable to healthy eating. I don’t like to eat too many meals away from home, for financial and health reasons, so seeing what days I plan to do this help me adjust for the rest of the week.

Lastly, meal planning inspires me to try new things, whether it be a new recipe (invented on my own or someone else’s), a new product, or a new restaurant.

I hope to continue this tradition for the foreseeable future. I have this current list pad and another unopened one to go. Even if you just plan one meal a day (like dinner), you can save yourself a lot of time, money and hassle.

How does meal planning help you?


About Sarah Frankel

I am 29 years old and a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. I've been married to my husband Josh for 6 years and we have a 5 year old beagle named Suzie. Four years ago, I changed my eating and exercise habits, dropping 70 pounds and gaining an entirely new life. I took up running in September 2007 and became vegan in October 2009. I am constantly striving to improve my life so that I can live it to the fullest! I hope you will join me on my life journey.

Posted on May 19, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. We have a pad of paper very similar on our refrigerator. Unfortunately, I am not very good about filling it out either. When I do take the time to sit down and plan things out, I end up enjoying it, but all too often my meals end up being last minute decisions.

  2. I plan our dinners for the week to make sure we are eating a variety of foods to maximize nutrition. So, we have different kinds of greens, broccoli, cauliflower, etc, different proteins, and a range of grains incorporated into different meals. Also, I know what I am going to cook so there is no wondering.
    This week: white bean and millet cakes with roasted cauliflower and spinach salad, leftover millet cake stuff stir-fried with kale, lemon rosemary tofu with roasted potatoes and broccoli, garlicky kale and chickpeas on bulgur with tahini sauce, black beans and sweet potato on quinoa with greens.

    I find dinner planning to be very helpful and I’ve been doing it for a year or more now. Also it helps my husband to get a chance to help choose the menu.

  3. I’ve tried meal planning in the past, but I have a hard time sticking to it. Time at night is not always something I have, so I rely a lot on leftovers and quick fixes of throwing things together! I do plan special meals with my boyfriend or for parties, of course!

  4. I am horrible at meal planning. Cooking for a Kimmie is so difficult. I always cook too much, so I’m eating leftovers for days. Plus, I can’t stand wasting food. Any tips?

    • I would recommend freezing some of your leftovers. I made a big pot of soup last week and I didn’t want to eat it every day so I kept one leftover serving in the fridge and then put the rest in containers to freeze them. Also, try halving a recipe; sometimes you have to be creative with the ingredients but that way you don’t have as much leftover. I hate wasting food too!

  5. I have gotten better about it now that i buy alot more fresh food. But getting the thoughts down on paper other than just leaving them in my head for confusion may be a good next step to take…

  6. I don’t intentionally meal plan but I tend to buy the same things every week so I basically am lol…did that make sense?

    I want to get that thing for my fridge lol

  7. I’m HORRIBLE at meal planning! 😦

  8. I always plan my dinners, and my lunches are just leftovers. I usually make one breakfast item (like a big pot of tofu scramble or a batch of muffins) and eat it every day for a week.

  9. menu planning helps me in a few ways

    It helps me know what I have on hand (things get lost in my freezer, and having to go through it once every week or so helps), helps me know what I need to buy, and lets me auto pilot through weekday meal making.

    It also helps me not fall into a rut for dinners. Sometimes I get distracted (inet) and lose track of time. It helps to know what the game plan is so I can get cracking instead of rummaging through the kitchen at the last minute.

    That said, I am still working on being more regular about doing it 😉

  10. Hi, great post – you’ve pretty much summed up all the benefits of meal planning. One more to add – you will find the amount of fresh food you throw out because you haven’t used will be halved

  11. I have a VERY similar meal pad that I use every week – and on Sundays (today) I thumb through my cookbooks and plan dinner for the week! It makes grocery spending SO much easier, and coming home from work and cooking dinner so simple! 🙂

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