Image via Flickr by NatalieMaynor
Cooking nutritious meals can be a great way to keep your family healthy, but a daily cooking routine can be both time-consuming and expensive, especially if you’re buying fresh ingredients regularly. So how can you stay healthy without overspending? Discover four ways that meal planning benefits your health and your budget at the same time.
Have a Streamlined Shopping Strategy
If your typical grocery shopping trip tends to be disorganized and much more expensive than you’d planned, you’ll appreciate how much meal planning can streamline the process. Before you go to the supermarket or farmers market, take the time to map out the meals you plan to cook for the week. Keep in mind what’s in season, what’s on sale, and when you’ll have time to prepare meals. With a smart shopping strategy in mind, you’ll buy exactly what you need for the week without wasting time or money.
Focus on Whole Foods
If you tend to lean on convenience foods when life gets busy, you aren’t alone. Fast food and takeout make for fast, easy meals when you don’t have time to cook.
When you have a meal planning routine, however, you’ll naturally skip the junk and refocus on nutritious whole foods instead. After all, meal planning gives you the opportunity to consider the week ahead as you create a nutritious menu that fits your family’s needs and schedule. If you’ve already shopped for and planned to prepare a meal packed with whole grains, lean protein, and fresh veggies, you’ll find it much easier to show junk food the door.
Make Counting Calories a Breeze
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or you simply want to maintain your current status, counting calories and tracking macronutrients are key. Takeout and convenience foods can make a major impact on your daily calorie count, but meal planning can help you rein in your energy intake and get your macros back on track.
To give your wallet and your schedule a break, use the Lifesum app to count calories and monitor macros. Just select the diet plan that works for you, input your statistics and your weight loss goals, and enter your meals and snacks each day. With this calorie tracking app, you’ll easily see whether your energy intake is on point and whether you’re getting the right balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Stop Wasting Leftovers
Leftovers don’t have to collect at the back of your refrigerator until you forget about them or they spoil. When you take the time to plan meals, you won’t have to worry about wasting a thing.
In fact, meal planning often encourages you to make larger batches of your family’s favorite meals, which you can divide into portions and enjoy for lunch or dinner later in the week. That translates to less wasted food, less money down the drain, and more nutritious meals on your table.
As you incorporate meal planning into your family’s routine, remember that it doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. Get the entire family involved as you create seasonal menus, prepare food for the week, and portion out healthy meals.