What Kind Of Meal Planner Are You? 8 Reasons To Meal Plan Every Weekend
Meal Prep = 5 hours every Sunday cooking, portioning, weighing, and prepping all of my weekly meals!
If that sounds overwhelming and like 20 steps from where your weekly meal planning is now… I’ve got good news!
Meal planning can be personalized. You can start small, and find what works for you.
So whether you’re a meticulous planner and prepper, or a casually intentioned well-being lover, it’s possible to reap the benefits of meal planning.
Before we dive into the 8 wonderful reasons to plan your weekly meals over the weekend, let’s define three types of meal planners, so you can decide where you might want to begin.
Meal Planner 1: The Lister and Listener
You don’t like to plan too far ahead, because you like to use intuition to select meals that call to you throughout the week
Making lists is your jam; recipe lists, grocery lists, meal lists, and it helps you keep some structure within your food choices
You’re fairly busy and while you might build upon planning and start going into full on meal prep mode, for now you are honoring how much you can take on and starting small
Meal Planner 2: The Balanced Builder
You take some time to not only make that intentional list of weekly meals, but you also have a chunk of time 1-2 days a week where you make enough for leftovers
Every week might look a little bit different, and you might plan and prep anywhere from 3 or more meals a week.
You’re familiar with and practice time-saving strategies like making your breakfast the night before, placing food in categorized containers, and planning ahead for most meals
You’re continually building upon your routine, and you love learning new tips and tricks for meal planning.
Meal Planner 3: The Meticulous Meal Prepper
You’re pretty much pro status. You have and enjoy the time you take each week to plan, prep and store meals for the week.
Your fridge is likely insta-worthy with organized sections of pre-cut veggies, rice containers, portioned proteins, etc.
Each week you usually have at least a few days of breakfast pre-planned and/or prepped, and 3-5 days of lunch and/or dinner prepped in containers.
You are intentional about getting in your prepping, and you also love continuing to work on consistency, efficiency, and variety.
Which one are you? Share in the comments below!
No matter where you fall in these 3 meal plan types, even if you resonate with more than one, or you’re just getting started, there are powerful health benefits that these types ALL share!
8 reasons to plan your meals every weekend
1. Relieve stress
When we’re preparing our own food, the environment around us shifts. We melt into creative mode. The smell of sizzling garlic fills the air. The colors of freshly chopped red pepper and bright green lime slices catch our eye.
The aroma and visual appeal of food ignite our digestive enzymes and help our body settle into a relaxation response. The fancy term is Cephalic Phase Digestive Response. It helps us support healthy digestion and drops us into the present moment.
Not only that but any amount of planning ahead and getting those muddled “what am I going to eat” thoughts out of your head helps relieve stress and anxiety, resulting in a sense of calm.
2. Boost your mood
Let’s face it. When no planning of meals has occurred, we’re SO much more likely to skip a meal, or go for a convenience-over-healthy food choice. Skipping meals leads to a level of starvation mode in the body, which leads to hormone imbalance. This is what’s happening when we’re hangry.
On the other hand, if we get so hungry we binge on something healthy or unhealthy, we’ll likely feel gross, tired and lazy afterward, and that is no mood of choice for anyone.
When you set yourself up with a plan for your meals, you’re more likely to stick to it and more likely to eat healthier on a regular basis. The benefits of this are elevated mood and a balanced appetite!
3. Save time
Ok, while this may be a more obvious reason to plan your meals over the weekend, it’s an important one!
If you were to add up all the wasted time spent on getting food when the store is packed, waiting for delivery when you’re already starving, and draining minutes staring in your fridge wondering what there actually is to eat… I imagine you’d have hours back!
4. Build your kitchen confidence
Every new skill starts somewhere. If you’re just getting started, take some time over the weekend to research and plan out simple getting started meals. It’s ok to mess up your first baked chicken, and it’s totally possible you’ll become more and more of a whiz as you go!
Meal Planning helps you establish a good handful of go-to meals you’ll be able to cook with your eyes closed, eventually ;)
Dive in, make mistakes, and remember, it gets easier and it is so satisfying to accomplish cooking tasty new meals!
5. Money saver
It’s no secret that door dash orders and Starbucks snack box purchases add up. But why not prove it to yourself?
If you want a fun little experiment, go one week without meal planning at all, and at the end of the week write down how much you spent on all food and beverage purchases. The next week, plan ahead (even a little bit!) cook at home mostly, and at the end of that week write down how much you spent as well.
Bonus exercise: I also invite you to make a note of other ways those 2 weeks felt different. Think of some of the categories here and make a note, did you feel more calm, clear, energized, and productive during week 1 or 2?
6. Mental clarity
Think about all the other things we plan over the weekend for the week to come. Perhaps we look at our upcoming meetings. We plan time for our workouts. We schedule social events.
Planning for the week ahead boosts mental clarity, contributes to productivity, and establishes a sense of accomplishment before the week even begins!
7. It is the perfect addition to your self-care routine
If you’re already trying to be intentional about work-life balance, mindful living, and creating space to feel your best… Meal planning is pertinent addition to your weekly routine.
Planning and preparing food for ourselves can be so much more than an act of survival. It can be a beautiful, nourishing ritual that directly contributes to filling our cup.
And if you ever cook a meal for others, two birds with one stone, it’s a wonderful gift to share and you’ll feel proud and honored doing so.
8. Variety: The spice of life
Planning meals each weekend allows us to be conscious and intentional about our choices. Have I had fish in a while? What veggie haven’t I tried? I’m craving Italian food, let me find a healthy recipe for that!
Variety is nutritionally important, as our body needs balanced consumption of proteins, fats and carbs. When we mix it up, we’re also getting a better variety of vitamins and minerals too!
Instead of just grabbing anything, or eating cup of noodles for lunch every day, planning ahead helps us make healthier, well-rounded choices.
Remember, it’s totally possible, and important, to personalize your weekend meal planning strategy!
I hope you have fun when you plop down on a comfy seat this Sunday morning in your cozies with a hot cup of coffee or tea and your planner.
As you visualize your week ahead, and begin to plan out what meals will look like, picture yourself receiving all these wonderful benefits. You’ve got this!