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Meal planning, who has time for it right?
Well, you will be surprised to see how much time and money meal planning actually saves you, not to mention the benefits it has on your health.
Mum-of-two and organisation expert, Steph Pase says she plans out her meals for the week every Sunday, a small task which saves her time in the long run and has many other benefits too.
Read on, as Steph reveals the five major positive impacts that meal planning has had on her life.
1. My health has improved
Before I started really taking my health seriously and planning my meals, I was 25kg heavier, unhealthy and unhappy. Meal planning was one of the positive changes in my life that allowed me to reach my weight-loss goals and maintain it.
It has allowed me to manage my portion sizes, which is one of the biggest hurdles in weight-loss management. It also prevents me from buying take-out or reaching into the freezer for those easy frozen pizzas, and encourages me to cook with fresh heathy ingredients, with no hidden nasties. Meal planning also enables variety, which is important for any healthy diet, as opposed to frantically defrosting those last-minute sausages three times a week, from a lack of forward planning.
Steph plans her meals each week with the Steph Pase Meal Planning Magnet that lives on her fridge.
2. I’m saving money
By planning your meals each week, you not only avoid spending the extra money on take-out when you have nothing left in the fridge, but you also avoid food waste ,which has a bigger impact on your savings than you think.
Before I started planning my meals I would constantly find spoiled food shoved to the back of the fridge, or meat which I ‘intended’ to cook but missed the used-by date as I was disorganised.
Now I plan my meals ahead and buy exactly what I need for that week, and if I have a night out booked in the calendar, I have the chance to account for it and not buy extra food that will inevitably spoil. It also prevents me from purchasing multiple items that I already have stashed in my cupboard.
3. Planning saves me time
Although it might initially seem like it takes up too much time and effort to sit down and plan your meals once a week, making this effort actually saves you time. I write all my weekly meals out onto my Steph Pase meal planning magnet that lives on my fridge.
Every morning I glance at the fridge and know exactly what I need to take out of the freezer to defrost, and then when I come home from a busy day at work and picking up the kids, I can get straight into it without wasting time rummaging around the fridge wondering what I can pull together. It also makes grocery shopping quicker and easier, as I no longer walk around the aisles aimlessly wondering what I should get and which nights I have already catered for.
Steph with her husband, Ryan, and daughters, Harper and Willow.
4. I’m less stressed
Meal planning takes some of the stress out of your busy week. How many times have you reached the end of the day and realised that you don’t have anything prepared for dinner for the family tonight and panic sets in? This can be especially stressful if you have picky eaters.
Having a meal planner on the fridge is an easy and visible reminder in the mornings to take things out of the freezer to be defrosted or prepare anything you need to in advance. It also eliminates decision fatigue as, let’s face it, by the end of a hard day, whether it’s work or looking after kids, you’re usually pretty brain dead.
Steph thrives on being organised and says it makes her feel “happy, confident and stress free”.
5. I’m organised!
My favourite topic! I love the feeling of being organised, it makes me feel happy, confident and stress free. Before I started meal planning there would be countless nights when I would get halfway through cooking a meal, only to realise that I was missing a key ingredient! Now that I am meal planning, I feel so much more organised as I add everything straight onto my shopping list and don’t have to worry anymore about any surprises.