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There’s a tendency for people to believe that healthy eating is synonymous with expensive but that’s not the case at all. With a little bit of creative meal planning, you can have a fantastic menu full of healthy options every week, and at budget-friendly prices too.
What is Meal Planning?
Meal Planning is the process of preparing your menu for a few days, weeks or even months in advance. This involves listing the ingredients, shopping for them in the right quantities and storing them in readiness for your dishes.
When it comes to meal planning, you usually have to shop only once or twice a month depending on how far in advance you’re planning your meals.
What Are the Benefits of Meal Planning?
1. Save Money
With carefully planned out meals in advance, you’re able to scale your budget and save more money on bulk purchases. When you go to the grocery store without a list, you’re more likely to spend more money.
Meal planning teaches you how to stretch a tight budget and work within certain constraints. This was one of the best lessons I learned during the recession when I was out of a job and broke.
2. Eat Real Food
Meal planning enables you to eat healthier and more nutritional meals. Your guesswork is taken out when your meals are planned so you’re less likely to eat something unhealthy because you’re too lazy to figure out something better to eat. Meal planning includes all aspects of the food groups needed for a nutrient-dense diet.
3. Save Time
Meal planning is time-saving. Buying items, cooking and storing in bulk saves you a lot of time compared to grocery shopping and cooking every every day or several times a week. You have the opportunity to cook in bulk and freeze for future meals.
4. Meal Planning Helps you Lose Weight
Meal planning can help you lose weight. By planning for and eating healthy and filling meals and snacks, you will begin to see a shift towards achieving your weight goals within a few weeks of implementation.
Meal plans targeted for weight loss contain satisfying and filling foods. The reason most weight loss plans go awry is that you reach for unhealthy things because they’re fast. You can avoid this trap by meal prepping in advance.
How Do I Get Started with Meal Planning?
If you don’t know how to meal plan properly because you can’t figure out enough variety without getting bored or you simply don’t have the time to put a proper plan together, this is where meal planning services like $5 Meal Plan, GreenChef, and eMeals come in quite handy.
$5 Meal Plan helps put together a meal plan, which incorporates all food groups. They send you a customized meal plan along with a shopping list every week for only $5 a month, less if you purchase 6 – 12 months service in advance. You also receive a free trial when you sign up. Learn more about $5 Meal Plan HERE.
eMeals is an online meal planning service that tells you what to cook and ingredients to shop for with options for every palette – paleo, low carb, low-fat, portion control, vegetarian, gluten-free, natural organic, simple gourmet, classic and more. You can customize the menu and shopping list for as many people as required and you can pick your favourite grocery stores to shop from. The first two weeks of the plan is free then $5 per month afterward if you subscribe for a year. Learn more about eMeals HERE.
Green Chef is a meal kit subscription service that has options for paleo, vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian and non-vegetarian tastes. In addition, they deliver USDA certified organic ingredients with recipes that can be prepared within 30 minutes all in a neat, recyclable packaging. All you have to do is sign up and everything will be delivered to your doorstep. Subscription options are flexible and you can change plans or cancel at any time. Start your free trial HERE.
$5 Meal Plan, Green Chef, and eMeals do all the work for you and simplify the entire process. Meal planning services are not limited to the two mentioned above but these are my favorites and they are budget friendly.
If you want to give it a go on your own, start with a meal planner like the one HERE then have a look at the following websites for some meal planning ideas:-
Meal planning saves you money and time, provides variety, and if you’re a picky eater like me, stress from trying to figure out what to eat three times a day, every day. Once you have a system in place, it’s easy for meal planning to become a part of your weekly dynamic. In today’s busy and fast-paced world, adding meal planning to your life is a no-brainer.