Never Wonder What’s for Dinner Again

It’s the moment every mother dreads.

It’s 5PM.

The kids are hungry. Hangry, even. They’re starting to melt down.

And you’re staring at an open refrigerator, full of food…

…but you don’t have a clue what’s for dinner.

You’re not alone.

And it’s not a sign of not being a good mother.

Far from it.

Dinnertime just has the unfortunate role of being at the end of the day.

And as any mother knows, after a busy day of making decision after decision, having to make yet One. More. Decision. regarding what to prepare for dinner is simply too much.

Fortunately, there’s a remedy for the Dinnertime Dilemma, and it doesn’t involve processed food or another call to the local takeout place.

It’s meal planning.

And it’s easier than you think.

Rather than having to haul out all your cookbooks and flip through them frantically, today’s modern meal planning tools streamline the process of meal planning. With the investment of a few moments of your time, you can have a menu plan that fits your family’s tastes and budget, and a shopping list that helps ensure you aren’t missing a key ingredient when it comes time to cook.

The 5 Benefits of Meal Planning You Simply Must Experience

  1. Save a Surprising Amount of Money

When you add up how much money and time you spend on takeout, convenience food, and impulse purchases, it can be shocking. A 2010 study by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine found that the total average cost for a healthy food diet (fresh foods bought and then prepared at home) was $5019 per person-year, while a fast-food diet was more than twice that at $10,298 per year!  What could that kind of savings do for your family’s budget?

 

  1. Improve the Quality and Variety of Your Diet

We all know we’re supposed to eat a variety of foods, especially vegetables and fruits. But it can be so easy to get stuck in a rut of the same few meals that are convenient. (We’ll talk about why this happens in just a moment.) When you meal plan, you’ll want to include meals that you know your family will enjoy. But it’s also a great time to introduce a new meal or two in your family’s rotation of meals. This way you can be intentional about expanding your family’s tastes for fresh and healthy foods. You might be surprised at how many new favorites you discover on the way!

 

  1. Eliminate Decision Fatigue

Just why is motherhood so tiring, even on days you don’t think you did very much? According to Elite Daily, “…decision fatigue … is a real psychological concept where a person’s productivity suffers as a result of becoming mentally exhausted from making so many irrelevant decisions.” I don’t know about you, but the work of mothering small children pretty much sums up the idea of making countless irrelevant decisions all day, every day!  By taking a few moments of time when you’re clear-headed to plan dinner menus and make shopping lists, you can put the dinner decision on autopilot at those moments you need it the most.

 

  1. Reduce your Anxiety

It’s no secret that moms today suffer from an extraordinary level of anxiety. Were moms in previous generations so anxious? Either way, taking the time to meal plan and enjoy its benefits has the potential to greatly reduce your anxiety and stress level. When you save money, your stress level drops; when you know you’re intentionally feeding your family good food, your anxiety is relieved, and when you have fewer decisions to make in any given day, it prevents overwhelm. It’s a win-win on so many levels!

 

  1. Involve your Family in Meal Preparation

When you don’t have a plan for meals, it’s harder to delegate any step of the meal preparation process. But when you know each day exactly what needs to be done, anyone in the family can help with dinner preparation. If your spouse gets home early, it’s easy enough to begin dinner preparation right away. When you have children ready to learn simple food preparation practices, you know which tasks they can learn. Children who help prepare a meal are more likely to enjoy eating it, which also helps expand your family’s collection of favorite meals.

 

Meal planning has a range of benefits for both you and every member of your family. Whether you’re a paper and pen kind of planner or one who enjoys using online tools, it’s easy to begin experiencing the numerous benefits of meal planning.

 

Which benefit of meal planning are you most excited about experiencing?