Meal Planning

Meal Planning may sound to be a very modern idea but it has been in practice for ages, especially in India. Visiting the Sabzi Mandi every weekend to pick the freshest of veggies and fruits, our mothers ensured of having everything ready to prepare delicious home-cooked meals for the upcoming week. But, thanks to the fast and busy life that we have adopted, some of us have forgotten about this weekend chore which now scores the charts of a dietician’s recommendations. By grabbing breakfast, lunch, or dinner from restaurants on the go, not only do we possibly eat unhealthy food but also tend to empty our pockets. So, why not get reintroduced to the simple act of meal planning that has quite a few benefits up its sleeve!

What is Meal Planning?

We all have asked this question – ‘What’s for dinner?’, at least once in our lifetime. Well, instead of every night, you need to ask this question on a particular day of the week, preferably on the weekend as we are mostly free then, and have our answers ready! So, meal planning is nothing but spending some time in advance on a particular day to plan a certain number of meals for the week. The goal is to never find yourself in front of an open empty fridge, wondering what to cook or whether to simply order some food. With a meal plan in hand, all you gotta do is shop for the ingredients, decide on the recipes that you would love to have for the week, and then prep the freshly bought ingredients.  

What are the Benefits of Meal Planning?

Meal Planning is one of the ways to stay on top of your fitness games. It stops you from derailing off your diet plan and helps you achieve your fitness goals efficiently. A few of the benefits that you will enjoy with meal planning are as given below.

  • Saves time – Our hectic schedule makes it difficult for us to cook meals separately and follow a diet. Meal planning proves to be a potential tool in compensating for the scarcity of time. It saves some quantifying and cooking time during our working days and helps us stay consistent with our diet.
  •  Improves food choices – With sufficient time on our hands to plan and prepare meals, we might make better food choices. There is a possibility that we may end up selecting a variety of wholesome foods consciously that may improve the overall quality of our diet. This in turn helps us keep our weight in check. According to a study, there is primitive evidence that meal planning could potentially be relevant for obesity prevention. 
  • Saves money – Meal planning helps you have healthy food on a limited budget. With all the efforts put into planning the meals, we tend to feel an obligation in preparing and eating them. We also stop having restaurant food which not only keeps us away from having junk food but also saves big bucks. 
  • Reduces wastage – A planned meal also gives you an idea of the quantity of food you have to prepare for yourself or your family. With that, there are fewer leftovers which leads to lesser wastage of food. Having put some effort into cooking meals at home, throwing the food away is also usually not seen as an option. 

Potential Barriers in Meal Planning

  • Lack of time – While this may sound an excuse for some, it can be a genuine issue for others. Juggling multiple responsibilities, one is bound to face scarcity of time so intense that meal planning may not find its way into the checklist. And, upon finding some free time, relaxing might take over jotting down meal plans.   
  • Grocery shopping – This may come across as a difficult task for a few if they have never ever been out and about to buy ingredients for home-cooked meals. Some may find out that they lack knowledge when it comes to picking the freshest of veggies and fruits that are highly nutritious.
  • Cooking skills – This is one of the major barriers when it comes to meal planning. While we all have been truly inspired by the many seasons of Masterchef Australia, we were quick to realize that cooking is no easy thing-to-do upon stepping into the kitchen. And then, our over-expectations get the better of us, putting us off of the entire meal planning process. 

Knowing all the advantages of meal planning, it is definitely an activity to consider while starting your fitness journey. Although you may face the obstacles that have been stated above, it is recommended to remember all the perks it has to offer. It will keep you on track, improve your diet quality, and also keep your pockets from getting ripped.          

About the Author :  Ketki H is a wandering soul who loves travelling solo, and firmly believes in enjoying the journey rather than hurrying to the destination. Although a graduate in Mechanical Engineering, she took to writing for reaching the masses.

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