140. What Happens When I Fail to Meal Plan (or Why You Should Meal Plan)

On multiple counts of unhealthy eating over the past two weeks, I am guilty as charged.  Over the last couple weeks there have been an excessive number of meals out, pathetic, unbalanced meals at home, and trips to the drive thru.  My body is definitely fighting back today.

 It’s an old adage that “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”  There’s a reason this saying has been around for a while; it’s incredibly true.  If I’ve learned nothing else in the past year and a half, it’s that planning is everything.  Planning is clutch especially in the early stages of a healthy lifestyle. My crappy eating is almost entirely due to laziness and poor planning on my part.  I haven’t been planning my meals which means my grocery shopping had been directionless (which also explains the demise of my food “budget” this month), my meals have been uncreative and unbalanced, and I’ve been eating out way more than usual.

 I am a huge proponent of meal planning.  Spending some time up front saves me a great deal of time throughout the week.  Let’s break it down.

 Meal planning saves me time at the grocery store:  I can plan a weeks worth of meals and make a grocery list in about 30 minutes.  If I’m on the hunt for a new recipe or trying to change things up it might take a bit longer.  Since I make a grocery list based on my meal plans, I know exactly what I need to buy.  I don’t have to spend time wandering the aisles wondering what I should buy for dinner this week or what I’m going to need.  I get my shopping done in half the time it takes me when I’m sans list.

 Meal planning saves me money at the grocery store:  In the same way meal planning saves me time at the grocery store, it saves me money.  I have a list, and I stick to it.  I don’t end up buying things I don’t need or things that end up sitting in my pantry forever or, worse, going bad before I actually use them.

 Meal planning saves me time during the week: I don’t have to spend any time thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner.  I check out the meal plan and the decision is made.  It also saves me from trips to the store for that one item I forgot to buy and must have to make dinner.

 Meal planning saves me money during the week:  Since I’m not making trips to the grocery store for that one more ingredient, there’s not chance for impulse buys.  Plus, since my meals are all planned out, I’m not spending money going out to eat.  Eating at home is always cheaper than eating out.

 Meal planning keeps my healthy lifestyle on track: When I plan my meals, I’m planning healthy well balanced meals (and the occasional splurge).  When I don’t plan, I tend to have much less balanced meals.  If I’m eating out, forget about it.  Even the healthiest restaurant choices still aren’t as healthy as what I would prepare myself.

 For more benefits and tips, check out Tina’s Grocery Shopping 101 series over at Trading Up Downtown.

 Coming up…
Lia Sophia Party Recap
Financial Responsibility Challenge update (I know I promised this last week, but when I got going, the post got really long and detailed.  I’m working on editing it right now.  I expect there may actually be multiple posts.)

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