Updated: Apr 27
One of the main things I find most of my clients need nutrition coaching in is meal planning. It's not the most exciting way to spend half an hour, gut it is one of the most useful things you can do to make your week less stressful.
Planning your meals ahead of time will help you and your family stick to a healthier diet, keeps food costs down and save time too!
Planning your weeks meals means you can save time throughout the week. From not having to rush round the supermarket thinking what's for dinner and not having to go to the shops every day because you are short of something for tomorrow's lunch. Instead of rushing around that extra time can be used to get some important work done, do a quick HIIT workout, spend time with your family or have some quiet time to yourself.
Who doesn't need more time in their lives? To help encourage you to give meal planning a go here's my list of five top reasons to have a go at meal planning each week.
Trips to the supermarket are quicker and easier
Fewer food shopping trips each week
No last minute panic about what's for dinner
Having essential supplies in the cupboard for emergencies
Preparing meals in advance
Let's break each one down in detail:
Shopping trips are quicker with a list
By simply writing a list of the meals you are going to have each day and what ingredients you'll need will mean you have more time to do fun things instead of running round the supermarket. Knowing what you need means you can just go down the aisles you need to. Wandering down every aisle wondering what you can have for dinner is so much slower. You'll also save money as you won't be buying items that you already have in the fridge and not be tempted by foods you don't need.
Fewer supermarket trips
This is a big one for me. I rarely even need to pop to the local shops these days. On a usual week I do one supermarket shop and have one delivery of organic fruit and veg. Keeping a meal plan and writing a list of all the ingredients you will need for the week means you only have to shop once. Just make sure you double check your list and what ingredients you already have at home before heading off. You might occasionally need to pop to your local shop if you run out of bread or milk, but this will save a lot more time than a second trip to the supermarket each week.
That saves lots of time each week! It also saves money. The more times you are in the supermarket, the more opportunities they have to tempt you to buy extra items!
Knowing what you're having for dinner means no last minute panics
Though for some people waking up knowing what you're having for dinner may seem a bit boring, but if you have a really busy life (what woman doesn't!) it certainly cuts down on stress dramatically. Whether you decide to wake up and put all the ingredients into your slow cooker so you have dinner ready to serve as soon as you walk through the door or if you have a quick, fresh stir fry to whip up. It means you won't have to go through rush hour traffic to the supermarket and stress about creating meals from what is left over in the aisles. Instead, you'll have a delicious and healthy meal to enjoy that took minutes to create.
Keeping a stock of essentials means always having a meal in your cupboard
If you're at the end of the week or haven't had a chance to run to the shops when you usually would, having some basics in your kitchen means you'll always be able to pull together a quick and easy meal for you and your family. Frozen veg and canned beans are quick and easy to cook with and have lots of great health benefits. Frozen vegetables usually have more vitamin C than fresh supermarket ones as the vitamin has been locked in during the freezing process straight after picking. "Fresh" veg has been transported and sat on the supermarket shelf for who knows how long, all the time it's vitamin content is decreasing.
Make sure your store cupboard is full of healthy ingredients, especially if you are trying to loose weight.
The night before
If you have chance to prep your food the night before, it will free up busy mornings and evenings. A bit of preparation in the evening means lunches are sorted for family members who take lunch to school/work, overnight oats are ready for breakfast and meat for the slow cooker has time to defrost overnight.
You might also like to have a good at batch cooking as you get more adventurous. Batch cooking is another great way to eat healthier and save time.
Creating menu plans has become a habit for me now. I know it's saved me so much time, money and most of all stress. It also helps me to stick to a healthy diet and keep to my nutrition goals.
If you've never done much planning ahead, then start slowly.
Honestly, starting slowly is one of the main ideas as an online nutritionist with my clients.
My top tip would be just to try planning a couple of dinners this week and see how it goes. Then ask yourself:
Did those evenings feel less stressed?
Are you saving some money on your weekly shopping?
Were you eating more healthily at those meals?
If you need help getting started with healthy meal planning to suit your lifestyle, I specialise in finding real food solutions for real life. You can contact me at https://www.debbiedeannutrition.com/contact . I'd love to support you in your first steps in saving time and stress with meal planning.
If you'd like more tips like these, then subscribe to my mailing list https://www.debbiedeannutrition.com/subscribe
Here's to more time, heathier meals and more relaxed evenings.