The path to living healthy is certainly one that is fraught with obstacles. We often battle all of the key components of healthy living, but the biggest obstacle for most people comes down to food.
You can do all the workouts in the world, but if youâ€™re eating habits are less than stellar it wonâ€™t make a difference. This coupled with the fact that fast food and prepackaged meals are not only prevalent but convenient and itâ€™s easier than ever to skimp on the nutritional front.
Plus most people fall back on the ever present excuse of â€œI just donâ€™t have time to cook.” But is that really true? This is where meal planning comes in handy.
1.Â Pre-planned Is Just as Easy as Pre-packaged
If you take 20 minutes out of your weekend to browse through easy recipes and flag a few for the week then you will save all the hassle of coming home each night and wondering what to cook for dinner. By planning them out ahead of time you can ensure that youâ€™ll have all the ingredients on hand and your meals will come together in a flash.Home cooked trumps frozen in the meal department almost every time.
2.Â You Control the Ingredients
It is so much easier to eat healthy when youâ€™re buying the ingredients and portioning them out. This allows you to use reduced-fat or non-fat items in place of their full-fat counterparts and control how much butter or oil is used during the cooking process.
Restaurant fare is loaded with an excess of fat, calories, and sodium, and youâ€™ll significantly reduce your intake of all that by eating meals youâ€™ve prepared. It also makes it easier to throw in extra fruits and veggies, thus upping the nutritional value of the meal.
Â 3.Â It Saves You Money
Going out to eat is expensive and adds up quickly. When you plan out your meals ahead of time you get the additional benefit of being able to browse the grocery store advertisements so you can find where the weekly specials are and factor that into your meal choices. Plus when you have the food at home thereâ€™s no excuse not to eat at home.
4.Â Less Trips to the Grocery Store
How many times have you come home from school or work and then realized you have to run to the store to get some missing ingredient for dinner? By taking the time to plan out a few meals for the week you will guarantee that you have everything you need on hand so you donâ€™t have to make any last minute trips or skip cooking all together.
5.Â It Gives You a Reason to Use up Random Items
Just about everyone has that random package of spaghetti in the pantry or frozen meats that were bought on sale and then forgotten about. Meal planning gives you the opportunity to plan a meal around these extras that never seem to get used.
[box type=”note”]Itâ€™s true that meal planning does take time and effort. But it also can help you save money and shave inches off your waistline. Investing a little effort into your overall well-being is never a bad thing, and is all worth the extra time.[/box]