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4 benefits to meal planning

Meal planning is the concept to preplan out your meals in advance. There are many reasons people may meal plan and it is a growing concept in many homes across Ontario. What are 4 benefits to meal planning?

ICYMI: We shared earlier this month our own meal plan for January to help you plan at least one meal or food option a day that is both easy to make and made from Ontario grains.

Benefit #1: Healthier Meals

Sitting down and creating a meal plan can help you eat healthily. You can pre-plan out healthy, balanced meals in advance. This can help you avoid last-minute snacking or grabbing fast food as a meal option. Meal planning can also help with portion control. Not only are you planning out your meals, but you can also prep them ahead of time to plan out the portions of what you’re going to eat. This can help with overeating or undereating during meals. need guidance on how to plan a healthy balanced meal? Download our Healthy Eating Tips for a visual sheet to show you how to create a balanced meal!

Benefit #2: Less Food Waste

Meal planning can also help with food waste. Did you know that it is estimated that 1/3 of food produced is actually wasted worldwide?  Meal planning can help reduce this waste by making sure you aren’t buying more food than you need, help use food like meat or produce before it expires, and you can actually add into your plans ways to use up those leftovers versus leaving them to go bad in the fridge! Planning chilli for dinner? Make a bit extra and use the leftovers for Beef Enchiladas the next day!

Beef and black bean enchiladas on whole wheat tortillas
Beef Enchiladas on whole wheat wraps made using leftover beef and bean chili.

Benefit #3: Save Money

By planning ahead of time, you can save on your food budget when your meals are already planned out. When your meals are planned out you can avoid the unnecessary orders for fast food or takeout – both of which can really add up over time. Also, when you go to the grocery store with a strict shopping list with exactly what you need to pick up for every meal, you save money by only grabbing what your need, versus overspending on extra ingredients or items.

Benefit #4: Save on Time

And the most obvious reason is that meal planning can help save you time! There is a reason “ready in under 30 minutes” recipes are so popular: people want to spend less time cooking and deciding on what’s for dinner and more time on other aspects of their lives. Meal planning can help with that. When you know each day exactly what you are going to eat, you can spend less time figuring it out and more time cooking and enjoying your meals. And, if you have time, you can also spend time prepping certain elements of your meals ahead of time!  

There are many benefits as to why people add meal planning into their cooking routines. Need inspiration? Check out our January monthly meal plan.