You’ve probably heard it before: failing to plan is planning to fail. It’s especially true with meal planning. And we’ve all been there: It’s been a long day, then you get stuck in traffic, you finally get home, open the cupboards and … no food. You’re starving and exhausted. You certainly don’t feel like walking or driving to the grocery store. And like I said, you’re starving. So, you order a pizza. Not exactly healthy. Not exactly frugal. Maybe not even that tasty (depending on how often you experience this crisis).
Bottom line: we can do better.
Even basic meal planning can save much time and effort. You don’t have to get fancy. You don’t have to list which spices you’ll need. You can just plug in what meals you plan to eat and when!
And if you use an online meal planner, like the one available at Say Mmm, then the whole process is extra slick. Everything is stored for you right on the website, and always within reach. You can make changes quickly and easily, and don’t have to spend time searching for that tattered notebook, or a pen. (People rarely misplace their computers.)
Meal planning is also helpful if you get an urge or an inspiration when you are not actively involved in meal planning. So you are sitting at work, balancing a budget, and you think, wow, we haven’t had fish chowder in a while, that would be good, and you can take a quick break from your budget and plug that chowder in! Then later, when you are actively meal planning, you don’t have to spend as much time staring at the wall thinking, because you’ve really been brainstorming all week.
And of course there’s the grocery list. Meal planning saves oodles of time in both the writing of the grocery list and the implementing. When it’s time to make the list, just consult your meal plan. Then just hit the print button! When you’re in the grocery store, your list will be organized and complete, and you won’t have to stress that you are not getting enough (or getting too much) food.
If you are one of those smart coupon folks, meal planning can make that process easier too. Look at your meal plan, sort through your coupons, and put them all in a stack. Or, sort through your coupons and use them to make the meal plan. Either way, you are streamlining your process. And streamlining always saves time.
Meal planning is especially helpful if you are a busy bee. You can sit down with your date book or day planner and figure out which evenings will match with which meals. Plan to have quick hoagies after the late afternoon soccer game. Need to work Tuesday night? Make sure there’s something in the freezer the kids can handle without you. This way, you never end up getting home at nine in the evening, and find that the only choice left in the house is the frozen lasagna that takes three hours to cook.
No matter how you choose to meal plan, how sophisticated or complicated you want to get, there’s really no way it can’t save you time. Sitting down on a Sunday afternoon (or whenever it is convenient for you) and planning out the whole week of meals will save you much time and stress over the next six days.
And you will never find yourself staring into that empty cupboard wondering if you just might starve to death.