4 Top reasons you should be meal planning
Find the Free January Meal Calender at the bottom of this post
I have desired to meal plan for a very long time. It just sounds so June Cleaver. Finally, finally, after what feels like forever in my head, I took the plunge and made the effort to meal plan for the month of January.
21 days it becomes a habit right??
Ok so step 1. I think about my goals for the year! What types of foods should our family be eating? Now remember, we are on a yearlong family weight loss challenge, so carefully constructing the “perfect menu” is a must have around here. Ok so maybe the word perfect is too much of an embellishment. Healthy and whole sounds better haha.. Step 2. Looking at my budget for food. Our family has some very ambitious financial goals for 2016 which means not spending exorbitant amounts of money on special, dietary, healthy foods right? I will be writing an article shortly on how we add healthy, whole foods into a restricted budget in a practical way. Step 3. What will everyone be willing to eat? “MOM! Veggies again, come on.. Where are the carbs.” My children may be teens, shortly approaching adulthood but they will be the first to whine and complain at the lack of variety so adding variety and a dash of pizazz into our families menu is an absolute for everyone. It’s also important with young children as well. Never assume that young children will or will not like something. Don’t inflict your negative thoughts about food onto your children. Offer them plenty of variety and let them experience all the wonderful colors, textures and flavors that healthy food has to offer.
Here are the 5 most important reasons to food plan…
1. Meal planning reduces household stress. Menu planning ahead will bring order into your already busy and possibly chaotic life. Take time to plan ahead. A stress filled life is very likely to bring on a mired of other issues so do yourself and your family a favor and plan out those meals. I recommend a month ahead because it takes more energy and reminding to sit down every single week to fill out a menu. A month at a time is a great start
2. Meal planning creates a nutritious eating environment. The best and quickest way to dive into the habit of unhealthy eating is to not to be prepared. Last second choices generally lead to unhealthy choices. When you plan your menu go ahead and google healthy meals, google family friendly meals, diabetic meals etc.. For my family it is low carb, high fiber and plenty of protein and veggies After you gather your meals then print out the recipes and hole punch them, stick them into a dollar store binder for quick reference on the day of preparation and voila a reference menu binder .
3.Meal planning saves Money. How many times have you been rushed and not prepared so at the last second decide, “We are ordering in?”, “we are going out to dinner”. What better way to blow the budget. I’m not saying that you should not make time for a family night out but generally speaking, a nice home cooked meal at night is the perfect way to enjoy each other and not break the bank, while planning ahead.
4.Meal planning brings families together. The fourth and finally reason on my list is probably the most important. Family together time. Statistics show American families eat less than 5 meals a week together. That is sad and disheartening especially considering that recent studies link regular family dinnertime to lower rates of substance abuse, depression and teen pregnancy. Also it has been found that eating a meal together promotes higher grade-point averages and self-esteem. Studies also show that conversations at dinnertime are more a more influential vocabulary-booster than reading and the stories told around the table help young children build resilience. The best part is that regular family meals also lower the rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents.
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