Some minor changes I have made in my life have made an enormous impact, and this is one of them.

Sitting down to a home-cooked meal is something I never regret doing. But getting into the kitchen after working all day isn’t usually a task that I’m dying to do. The one thing that makes it easier—and significantly more likely to happen—is meal planning. It improved my life tremendously; it’s pretty much the unsung hero of the healthy kitchen, and for a good reason.

Planning your meals ahead of time has been shown to increase one’s food budget and improve health and nutrition. And who doesn’t want that?

I love Meal Planning because… 

#1. I don’t have that nagging, late-afternoon stress associated with deciding what to do for dinner. Decision fatigue is a real thing. And for this working parent, it’s something that adds stress and anxiety to my day, which I most definitively do not need more of. But meal planning helps me alleviate that fatigue.

#2. To put it simply, home cooking is the best way to eat. Not only does it help you save money and eat better, but it also gives you control over what’s on your plate.

#3. With a detailed meal plan, you’ll save time and money. No more aimless wandering in the supermarket while spicing up your recipe ideas with unnecessary ingredients. With this focused approach, you can also ensure that you have enough food for the week and feel good about your health. Eating well means feeling good, so take some time out from your weekend to make it easy on yourself during the week.

#4. The only way to win at portion control is to set the rules before you sit down to eat. So prep your meals ahead of time. Get some containers, plan your meals for the week, and use those containers to store leftovers.

#5. There’s no one size fits all solution to reducing your food waste. But, whether you’re planning out your meals, using a food delivery service to manage your meal prep, or just being a little more creative with leftovers, it can help reduce the amount of food you waste. Of course, we can all be guilty of wasting food, but only buying what you need, using the ingredients as close to when you purchase them as possible, and recycling leftovers into new meals can reduce what ends up in the garbage at the end of the week.

#6. In a world where food can be delivered in minutes and ordering, takeaways have become second nature; it’s easy to channel your inner caveman and feast on steak burritos. But going out to eat can start to add up — the average family spends nearly $5,000 per year eating out. So meal planning could save you hundreds of dollars this year while also getting you more organized!

#7. You know all of those weeks when you wished you had prepared something healthy for dinner so you wouldn’t have to decide between the drive-through or picking up an unhealthy takeaway? Well, those days are over! Meal planning is an easy way to set yourself up for success and make eating healthy easier.

It’s not just about sitting down and eating your dinner. It’s about creating a habit of thinking about what, when, and why you eat — which is the key to creating sustainable healthy practices that work for you long term. That’s why meal planning can be so powerful — if you plan, it becomes easier to make better choices with every meal.

Check out my Meal Planning Books