Top 5 Reasons to Meal Plan

April 2, 2014 by flyingdrunkenmonkey

Top 5 Reasons to Meal Plan - The Flying Drunken Monkey

I started this blog almost exactly 3 years ago (20th March, I really should put it in my diary). I started meal planning while completing the Baby Steps that started the blog. So after approximately 2 1/2 half years of meal planning I think I could say that I have a pretty good handle on it.

Are you thinking of starting to meal plan? I thought I’d share my top 5 reasons to meal plan and maybe I can persuade you!

My Top 5 Reasons to Meal Plan


1. It saves time!



I’m sure you think I must be joking. How can having to choose meals and write them all down and everything actually save time?!

Well, no joke, it really does.

I spend perhaps half an hour on a Saturday evening to sit and work out the week. You could do it any day of the week, or work on it throughout the week before, but there shouldn’t be a need to spend any more than half an hour, at most an hour, selecting recipes and assigning meals. Mine tends to take longer as I then write my meal plan post for the week.

That half an hour to an hour a week can set you up for the rest of the week. No thinking each day about what to cook, no stuffing around at the supermarket trying to work out what to buy.

I print the meal plan (using my weekly planning template) and put it up on the fridge. I then use a marker to cross off each meal as well as activity and task. Having everything there in front of me saves me time from looking around, trying to work out what’s happening each day.

2. It saves money!



I have weeks when I go all out and plan meals based on elaborate recipes and exotic ingredients (normally if I get a fancier magazine or cookbook). But most weeks I’m cooking basic family meals and trying to keep to a budget.

By looking at your meals for the week you are able to see when you can reuse ingredients and when you can use cheaper ingredients. You save more at the supermarket as you go in with a plan and don’t get sucked in (as much!) by impulse buys. You can also easily do your grocery shopping online as you have a list of ingredients right in front of you. You can plan to use up meat from the freezer or veggies that have gone a bit soft. You also save money by not impulse buying takeaway when it’s just too hard to work out what to cook!

3. It makes cooking interesting!


Before I started meal planning I found it very easy to get stuck in a rut and ended up cooking the same meals over and over. I stuck to the old favourites, the things I knew I could cook. I wasn’t trying new foods or cuisines and was rather bored.

Since I started meal planning I’m forced to look for recipes and meal ideas and become more creative. I buy lots of recipe magazines and trawl Pinterest looking for interesting new recipes and my repertoire has expanded substantially.

I even find cooking shows interesting now!

4. It improves your cooking skills!



As I said above I tended to stick to the same meals each week. I wasn’t a very confident cook and even marrying a chef who gave me lots of tips didn’t give me the confidence to try many different cooking styles. I was getting bored of having spaghetti bolognese and frozen fish and veggies every week.

When I started meal planning I started to find recipes that expanded on the skills I already had plus helped me to branch out into new ones. I had time to study the recipes and learn the techniques. I still wasn’t very good but by planning to cook the meals again in following weeks I was able to get better.

Now my repertoire is much more expansive and I feel confident to try new recipes and techniques.

5. It helps you to be healthy!



Obviously this also depends on what you plan! But with a little extra focus and planning you can ensure that your family is eating a well balanced diet. I try to ensure that we eat a range of proteins, plus at least 1 vegetarian meal, each week. I can also check that we are eating a range of side dishes and eating a good amount of vegetables.

Meal planning is also great for different diets and dietary requirements. By extending the planning to lunches and other meals and snacks you can regulate exactly what you are eating and also see the meals more clearly.

Plus one extra!


6. It’s surprisingly fun!



I only ever used to read trashy or fashion magazines but now I find I’m obsessed with recipe magazines. I love finding new recipes and I love putting together the meal plan. Suddenly my Pinterest boards are full of recipes and interesting meals and the satisfaction of a well-completed meal plan can not be understated!

So, have I convinced you? Are you interested in meal planning now? Or do you already know all of this? Let me know!

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Related posts:

Meal Plan ★ 16th - 22nd April, 2012
Meal Plan ★ 7th – 13th January, 2013
Meal Plan ★ 11th – 17th August, 2014

32 Comments »

  1. Nice, I like this. I wish I knew how to cook worth a dang (a long time bachelor here), but these are some pretty good ideas indeed.

    Now if only I knew how to make a quality burrito…
    Matthew Eaton recently posted…Top 5 Quotes I Use for Motivated WritingMy Profile

    • Cassie says:

      It’s never too late to learn Matthew! Start looking up some simple recipes and give it a go. Now you’ve inspired me to find a good burrito recipe :)

  2. Great post, thank you. I am now motivated to give this a shot again and love the template! :)
    floodproofmum recently posted…A-Z Simple Living: B = BudgetMy Profile

  3. Man, you’ve guilted me back into doing up a meal plan. I’ve become very lazy recently and I’m sad to say that left overs are quite common (no fancy Jamie Oliver recipe to tart them up, just plain ‘same again’) and meat and 3 veg.

    We used to do a ‘cookbook’ night once a week where one of us had to cook a meal from a recipe we had never done before. It was great! So much more creative and fun :)

    Thanks for the inspiration to get back into it.
    Kylah (@Zest e-Biz) recently posted…5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmedMy Profile

  4. Louise Jones says:

    oh how I TRY to meal plan. But I always manage to do 3 days ahead and get bored and stop. We have an envelope of “go to meals” and we pick through them as a family. But it always seems like we have the same things over and over. I shall try again :)

  5. Tony says:

    #5 really resonates with me. Dinner was always what got me off track eating healthy…especially when I went out to eat. So I decided to start juicing for dinner (doesn’t that count as meal planning?). I lost 12 lbs in two weeks and continue to do this 5-6 days a week. Plus I end up eating a lot of green vegetables I would never eat otherwise. Dinner is no longer making plans FOR me and it has made a big difference.
    Tony recently posted…10 Ways to Attract More Monarchs in 2014My Profile

  6. Mike Allison says:

    Cassie,
    My wife and I have never tried meal planning in our 26 years of marriage, but you’ve definitely peaked my interest in this and I’m going to show her your post.

    I definitely want to try this. Will let you know how we do!

    Thanks! Great post! :)
    Mike Allison recently posted…The Top 5 Qualities You Need to be a ProBlogger – We Want You!My Profile

  7. Amanda Mac says:

    I hope you convinced some of my readers as well as yours, of the benefits of meal planning, and thanks for writing a guest post on meal planning on my blog.
    Amanda Mac recently posted…Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge Week – Week 8 Mirroring EffectMy Profile

  8. Hi Cassie

    I have just showed this article to my wife and she agrees with me that meal planning is something we should try. We are a family of four, and live an hectic lifestyle, so anything that saves us time, not to mention money will always spark our interest. Really enjoyed the article..
    Colin Linnett recently posted…Top 5 Tips For Choosing A Niche MarketMy Profile

  9. Doug Wojtczak says:

    Hi Cassie,

    This is one area that I have always has the hardest time with. Even though I have lived the fitness lifestyle for over 35 years, I have never been able to get my diet in order. Your idea of a meal plan might just be the key I have been looking for over all these years.

    The norm in my house has always been “what are we going to eat today?” and then we rush to cook and come up with something but spending a little time each week, as you suggested, might help fix this problem.

    Between my wife, my son and I, we waste a lot of food and I can see how this would certainly help.

    Thanks for the great advice!

    Doug

    • Cassie says:

      Thanks for the comment Doug! Meal planning, as I said, is fantastic for diets. I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with my second daughter and had to plan every single meal and snack. Thankfully, I was already meal planning so it wasn’t a huge shock to the system! Good luck! :)

  10. My partner works out of town so cooking for one can be a challenge without meal planning. The best part for me though is that I usually keep one leftover portion for the next day, and freeze the other for a day when I don’t want to cook! Without a meal plan I wasn’t making nearly as many leftovers which was a bad thing in my situation.
    Love the other tips in the comments though – thanks!

    • Cassie says:

      Oh yes meal planning would make a big difference! I used to eat so poorly when I was just cooking for myself each night.
      Keep up the good work! :)

  11. Ulrike says:

    Hi Cassie, great post and yes, it makes so much sense. we plan all sorts of things so why not plan out the meals we are going to have a little better. I am going to take some time on the weekend to get inspired with some new, easy recipes. Ulrike

  12. Sounds like we are on the same page when it comes to decluttering and getting organized. What’s great about your 6th tip is that so many of my clients collect recipes, but they never actually get around to trying them. Your meal planning idea can help get those recipes out of the pile and on to the table!
    Brenda Spandrio recently posted…5 Ridiculously Simple Areas You Can Declutter Right NowMy Profile

  13. Yes, I meal plan for all the same reasons, but I do find that I stick to meals that I know how to cook. Time to dust off the cook books and look for new dinner inspiration from the pages.
    A great Top 5 post. :)
    Bec @ The Plumbette recently posted…Five reasons your bathroom smells like a sewer and how to fix themMy Profile

    • Cassie says:

      It can be very easy to play it safe and stick to what you know, which really isn’t all that bad. But yes, meal planning does give you the opportunity to try new things. Good luck! :)

  14. Andrea says:

    Here via Maxabella linkup….I tried meal planning. I got to exotic and it costs us too much….oops. But it was yummy, our diet more diverse, and it did save time. But that was when I was on maternity leave. It’s probably more important now….just have to get into it again

    • Cassie says:

      Haha yes I have a few of those weeks too! When I got the Heston Blumenthal cookbook our meal plan for that week was very extravagant! Perhaps approach it as a way to be more frugal? It can make a big difference to approach the meal plan with a certain focus for the week (quick and easy, frugal, vegetarian, new recipes). Good luck! :)

  15. Sue Bride says:

    I outsource my meal planning, shopping and cooking so it takes me no time at all.

    After doing it for 20 years, while the kids were young, I found someone local via a social networking site to do it for me.

    We chatted online for a while, met up and he has now been my partner for 12 years.

    Now I need someone to do the cleaning and tidying – I wonder if fiverr has a category for that.
    Sue Bride recently posted…Those Were The Days And Broken LinksMy Profile

    • Cassie says:

      Oh I’d love to outsource it all! How fantastic! Oh and if you find someone really cheap that will clean and tidy for you, let me know! :D

  16. You make it sound so easy. You’ve inspired me Cassie

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