Why meal-planning reduces stress
So... I popped out earlier today to pick up an avo for tonight's salad....and I ended up with this mound of fresh fruit and veg! I just couldn't resist the specials, and we had visitors over the weekend, so I guess my planning was a bit wonky this week. Woops...
You know, I love fruit and veg but, to be honest, this sort of thing rarely happens!
...Why? ...Because most days of the week, I have already planned and bought most of what we will be eating for the next 5 or 6 days. The weekdays are usually just for picking up the odd thing we've forgotten or run out of, that's it!
Does that sound boring??! Seriously, I know it can look that way, and actually, those who know me will agree that...
I am NOT a planner and I tend to love my creative and spontaneous time every day. But, truth be told, there are SO MANY reasons to make a basic meal and shopping plan for the week.
Here are just a few reasons below. Can you add any to the list??
1. Doing one big shop a week on whichever day is the easiest for you will save you time over the rest of the week, as you will have less need to pop in to the supermarket (unless you have forgotten something, and if so, it can be a quick and painless trip in and out without pondering and second-guessing).
2. Sitting down and planning your meals and then making a shopping list means you will be less distracted by unhealthy snacks and products that are not on your list, and you can actually plan simple and healthy meals into your weekly diet.
3. Having a list in your hand means you can choose healthy options based on your meal plan BEFORE you get anywhere near the food. If it's not on the list, you probably DON'T need it!
---> This sounds a lot like #2 above, but they are different in that #2 is all about healthy planning before you get to the shops, and #3 is what happens at the shops when you have a healthy plan in your hot little hand! Just want to make sure that's clear.
4. Knowing what you are eating saves sooooo much time and energy. If you are like me and flat out with work and projects for the week, the last thing you need to be thinking about is what you're going to eat when you get home, or whether you have enough ingredients for it, or whether it is healthy enough. Knowing ahead of time will save you time in planning, time in buying, and time in thinking it over. My hubby and I have a rotation of a few simple, healthy meals we make on the weekdays. Something we can whip up in less than 30 minutes, knowing we are meeting our dietary needs.
(We save our more adventurous and relaxed cooking for the end of the week and weekends when we have more time to experiment and savour the meal!)
You'll notice that the big thing I emphasise here is the idea of saving time and energy. Ultimately, saving yourself time and energy through some simple routine planning will save you a great deal of stress in the long run. Make it simple for yourself and there is less to stress about.
---> Less stress about time constraints in a busy week, less stress about what to eat, less stress of regretting your meal choice or shopping choice, and less stress in trying to coordinate with your partner or friends about what you are eating (as it's already been planned).
Ok, so I'm not saying you should follow my plan exactly, but I do suggest you think about how you can structure your shopping days a little more so that you can save time and money and make it easier for yourself to choose healthier options. There's a lot of talk about 'will power' in avoiding certain kinds of foods. Why not make it easier for yourself and just not have it in your cupboards at all??
The easiest way to do that is to head to the shops with a list in your hand, based on a healthy meal plan you've made at home, away from all the distractions!