Meal Planning Monday ~ Resolutions Worth Making

This week’s post is by Christine Luken.

By now, you’ve hopefully recovered from your New Year’s celebration – and now the real work begins: implementing those resolutions you’ve made.  We all want 2014 to be our best year yet, but achieving those goals won’t be a piece of cake.  Did you know that investing some time in Meal Planning this year will help you achieve some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions?  Here are three of the most popular goals that people set – and how meal planning can help you reach them.

The #1 New Year’s resolution that Americans make is to lose weight/ eat healthier/ get in shape.  In 2013, thanks to Diet Free Life’s Carb Stepping tool and some High Intensity Interval Training, I’ve achieved my strongest and leanest body ever (pretty good for someone who just turned 40!)  There is NO WAY I would have achieved this goal without meal planning.  When you’re trying to eat healthy, having a plan is your greatest weapon against temptation.  Knowing that I have my dinner ingredients thawed out and ready to go makes it so much easier to pass by the drive thru and go home to a healthy, home-cooked meal.  I even plan my snacks and keep handy options like granola bars, apples, and nuts in my purse, briefcase, and car.  Restaurant meals contain an average of 30% more calories and fat than the same meal prepared at home.  This is because you control what goes into the food and you can make smart substitutions that will save fat and calories without sacrificing flavor.

Another popular New Year’s resolution is to become financially healthy (start budgeting, spend less, save more, pay off credit card debt.)  It might strike you as strange that meal planning can help you with this one, but I promise you’ll spend less money on food if you plan your meals.  The money you save can help you pay off your debt and save for the future.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that the price of groceries keeps going up, so it’s smart to manage your food resources wisely.  I was shocked to learn a few years ago that Americans throw away about one-third of the food that they purchase!  If a family of four spends $600 on food each month, they are throwing $200 in the trash can every month!  That’s $2,400 per year that could be saved for a vacation or paid down on the mortgage.  Creating a monthly meal plan helps you better manage the food you have so less of it goes to waste.  People who consistently meal plan also eat out less, which means even more money saved.

Finally, many folks resolve to reduce stress and spend more time with loved ones in the New Year.  Meal planning ensures that most nights you’ll be able to put a healthy, home cooked meal on the table for dinner and be able to enjoy quality time with your family.  When you’re not stressed out over what’s for dinner, you’re a happier and more present parent and spouse.

Not sure how to get started with your meal planning?  Pick up my e-book on Amazon.com, The Coupon Sisters Get Cooking: Discover the Magic of Meal Planning for just $7.95.  I promise it will pay for itself many times over the first month you begin to meal plan!