Why Meal Planning Provides Peace of Mind

by Melanie Edwards on May 26, 2011 · 17 comments

in home, life

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Do you plan meals for your family? I know many women that create menu plans for their household – some plan out weekly menu plans, others go as far as to organize a monthly menu plan. They all speak of the benefits of planning meals in advance, which include easier grocery shopping, saving money, and eating healthier.

I have tried in the past to create a weekly dinner menu and used my Google calendar to lay out each day’s meal. When I planned our family’s meals a week or two at a time, I found a few things to be true:

  • Grocery shopping was easier and faster. I was able to quickly make a shopping list based on the meals we had planned and could better stick to grocery shopping every two weeks to coincide with pay days. Very rarely did we have to make grocery store runs in the middle of the week, which often times ended up going over budget.
  • No more “What’s for dinner?” debates. Not only did I avoid the daily struggle of thinking about dinner, which can sometimes be a point of frustration for many women, but my husband was also informed well ahead of time. He could easily look at the printed calendar on our fridge and know what the menu was for that day.
  • Dinner responsibilities became easier to share. My husband can cook just fine and actually cooks certain meats better than I do. But, he’s the first to admit that when it comes to thinking of side dishes to complete the meal, he needs help. Having the dinner menu planned in advance resulted in him initiating the cooking process sometimes because he didn’t have to think about what to make, he already knew.
  • We ate better. Not all of our meals were super fresh or healthy, but they were all home-made. Regardless of whether or not we took shortcuts by using pre-packaged foods, we were still able to control what we put into our meals, how much of it, and in the end, this created better meals for us than if we were to order out.
  • We saved money. It’s true that just by planning a dinner menu, we were able to control our spending and many times saved on the food budget. There was much less eating out, more buying in bulk, and less grocery store trips. It was easier to keep an eye on the money we spent on food.

As I write this out, I can’t think of why we ever stopped planning our meals. I definitely plan to work on getting back into it and will hopefully start this weekend by creating a dinner menu for next week. The benefits of meal planning are sure to help our household’s balance and peace of mind.

Do you meal plan? If so, share with us in the comments about how you plan your family’s meals. Do you create a weekly dinner menu, two weeks at a time, or a monthly meal plan? How often do you grocery shop? What other benefits not mentioned have you found from meal planning?

More Meal Planning Ideas

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie - Home with the Kids May 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm

We don’t generally plan meals, but it’s not too uncommon for me to have some idea what I’ll be making throughout the week. I do go through the ads in advance so I can be thinking about what’s on special and what goes with that.


modernmami May 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I’ve heard of many people that plan their menu around what’s on sale in the
stores. I don’t do that really, but I can see why it works!


Web-Betty May 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I’m a meal planner all the way. 😀 I refuse to go to the grocery store without having first made a menu, so I can make a list, so I can use my coupons.

I have enough to do during the day–stressing out over what’s for dinner should not be added to the list. 🙂


modernmami May 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

You’re so right! You sound like you’ve got it down…I still need to work on
a system, especially the coupon part.


Daria @ Mom in Management May 26, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I haven’t tried it, but your post is certainly going to make me give it a try!


modernmami May 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm

haha well, let us know how it goes! Good luck!


Platanosmangoe May 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I did the same when my childen where groing up, but now I am just spontanious.  It’s me and the hubs.

By the way thanks for your email and your support.


modernmami May 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I can see it becoming more spontaneous down the road. Might make it more fun
too for cooking together! And…no problem! 🙂


Amy Bibbings May 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm

My husband and I plan meals by the week, and I don’t think I can ever stop doing it. I crave the routine!  We make our grocery list based on the meal plan and shop each week. That seems to be best when you’re buying fresh produce. Though I’m kind of the ringleader as far as cooking goes, my husband helps wherever I need and takes the lead on some things. 

We too post our menu on the fridge, which ensures that we defrost meats ahead of time – I hate going to cook and realizing my ingredients aren’t ready to go. It’s fun when you plan a really good menu and it gets you excited for the week ahead.

We’ve been doing it faithfully for over 2 years now and I honestly think I’d be totally flustered trying to shop without any idea of what I was going to cook for the week. We are quite good at sticking to the list at this point, which I definitely think saves us money in the long run.


modernmami May 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Wow, Amy! That is a great plan and it’s great you’ve been able to stick to
it for over 2 years. Thanks for sharing your technique with us!


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