If you’re not somebody who is a natural planner, meal planning may not appeal to you! A loose version of meal planning (if it’s not already your thing) can help you save money, time, decrease your food waste, and help you choose healthier foods overall. Here’s why it can be great to have a "loose meal plan" before making a grocery list:
- If healthier foods enter your house with a plan, it’s more likely they’ll get eaten (and not end up in the food waste bucket!).
- Having ingredients with a plan helps keep your fridge tidy and decrease waste (both food and money).
- Having ingredients for all the meals you want saves you extra trips to the store when you forget something.
- Having delicious recipes you’re excited to eat makes it easier to stay in and cook vs ordering takeout, helping you save money and (usually) eat healthier.
- It’s easier to get motivated to cook if you have a plan.
- You don’t need to follow your original meal plan rigidly - be flexible. Planning dinners (but not breakfast or lunch) can work well for busy families!
- Going to the grocery store with a list helps you shop fast, effectively, and saves you money too (by buying less extras).
- Helps meet your goals: you want to eat more fruits or vegetables! Increase your fibre intake? Make some new recipes to excite your taste buds? Choose a tasty afternoon snack you can eat on your way home so you’re not hangry later? Plan it and follow through. Use phone reminders, sticky notes, or whatever else works for you.
You don’t need to meal plan for every day of the week. Some meals may be leftovers or hummus crackers and cut up cucumbers on the fly (which everyone loves) and that’s great! Always choose what works for you; meals and groceries look different for everyone.