Welcome to StreetSmart Kitchen’s meal plan week #1. Meal Planning isn’t something new. You’ve heard of it many many times but you’ve never done it. Perhaps you’ve tried planning your meals. Or, you might be a meal plan master already. Whatever your situation is, we are going to cover every aspect of how you can effectively plan your meals in order to maximize the benefits in the next few
I am not here to convince you to start meal planning right away like many other food bloggers do. Instead, I am going to say that meal planning isn’t for everyone. If you fit in one of the categories below, until you decide to change your lifestyle, don’t bother with meal planning. You’ll probably end up wasting time and money as opposed to saving time and money, which is what meal planning is supposed to do.
- You don’t enjoy cooking. I bet it’s because you don’t really know how yet. Once you start learning and practicing, it’s really fun!
- You enjoy eating out. If money is not a problem and you live in a foodie city like San Francisco or Austin where you can probably find a new restaurant to eat every day for a whole year without repeating, sure! Why not? Life is short. Enjoy!
- You have no choice but to be on the brutal (asshole filled) dating market trying to find the right one by using dating apps. If that’s the case, by all means, eat outside. Homemade meals are not for first dates. (I don’t speak from experience on this one, but I’ve heard enough horror stories from my girlfriends that I am just so glad that I’m off the market.)
- To sum it up, you don’t cook regularly, YET!
If you are laughing while shaking your head right now, that’s fantastic news! It means that meal planning is most likely going to help you. Let’s get to the fundamentals and ask ourselves one question before taking any actions.
Why? Why do meal planning?
Meal planning brings numerous benefits when done right. We are going to scratch the surface today in this post. Here are what we think the most important reasons for meal planning.
Saving Time and Money
Time is money. A little planning ahead can reduce a tremendous amount of time you waste on thinking about what to make, running to the grocery store four times a week to grab last minute ingredients for a meal, wandering around in the grocery store being on the fence of putting a head of lettuce in your shopping cart. All of these activities also directly relate to money if you think about it, which brings us to the next point.
We hate wasting food as much as you do. Let’s continue the story about the lettuce. Does this sound familiar?
This can totally be prevented if you have a plan before heading to the grocery store. When you grab a head of lettuce, you know you are going to finish it by the end of the week. No more debating and wasting! Does that feel good?
Knowing the Numbers that Restaurants Don’t Show
When you have a menu and recipes in hand, you know exactly about the process of making the food. Most of the recipes online include nutrition facts which restaurants don’t show when they serve you. In fact, most fast foods and restaurants don’t reach the standards of serving nutritious food. By planning your meals ahead, you not only have a clear idea about your calorie intake but also avoid getting a pizza, a burger or a box of greasy fried chicken after coming home late from work. (Occasionally, sure. We all need a cheat day.) In a nutshell, meal planning will help you eat way healthier!
The Sky is the Limit of Variety
There are only a number of dishes that a restaurant can serve. It’s numbered and not every single thing on the menu is going be what you enjoy. However, when you make your own menus, you get to enjoy a variety of foods; you get to adjust the flavor as you want; you get to try something new every time you cook; you get to please the picky eaters in the house by taking into account their preference and put it into planning.
Taking the Stress Away & Always Having the Answer for “What’s for dinner?”
Let’s be honest here. Even if you are a master chef at home, without a plan, you start thinking about what to cook for dinner at about 4pm. In about 2 hours, your husband will be home and your hungry kids will be nagging you with a question that you’ve probably heard a million times – “Mom, what’s for dinner?” You still need to buy ingredients, cook and put food on the table. It takes up your mental energy resulting in stress, which we could all use less in our busy lives. When you have a plan, you know exactly what to cook and when to cook. Groceries are already in the fridge. What needs to be defrosted is already defrosting in the room temperature. So, plan and rule!
Now that you’ve learned why meal planning is so important and how it can help you with your daily cooking, we are going to dive into different types of meal planning next week. In the meanwhile, if you are looking for a few ideas to get you started on meal planning, we’ve put together a weekly dinner plan for you. Allow me to present to you StreetSmart Kitchen’s Meal Plan Week #1.
Got meal planning tips to share? Leave a comment and let’s master it together!