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Meal planning is generally thought to be the obsessive hobby of bodybuilders and the health-obsessed, but that’s misinformed. Yes, health-conscious individuals tend to meal plan. People who simply like to be organized and prepared meal plan, too. I’m one of those people.
Planning out and scheduling my meals is one of my coping mechanisms for life. I like to know exactly what I’ll be eating throughout the week, how much time I’ll need to spend in the kitchen, what I need to buy at the grocery store, and if I’ll have snacks to eat at work. All of this information streamlines my life and reduces a lot of stress.
The Week Becomes Easier to Manage
By having food planned, prepped, and ready to go, I make the whole week much simpler. I don’t have to come home to cook every single night. I don’t have to scrounge up lunch. I don’t have to make multiple trips to the grocery store. I like to cook a large batch of something (or two medium batches) on Sundays and divide it up into lunch and dinner portions for the week. All I have to do is grab a container for lunch before I head to work, and pull one out when I get home for dinner.
I Save Insane Amounts of Money at the Grocery Store
I stay on a strict budget, so I can’t exactly go into the grocery store and grab things willy nilly. Buying too much food, or food I know I’m not even going to eat, is a huge waste and drives me crazy. When I meal prep, I have a very specific grocery list to abide by, and it makes it much easier to resist the temptation to purchase the jumbo bag of Lindor truffles. It also saves me time since I don’t need to wander around hoping to see something I think I need.
There’s No Jumping Off the Healthy Track
It’s so easy to grab fast food or a bag of chips when life gets busy, and I’ve fallen victim to it far too many times. My days typically involve being away from home from seven in the morning until at least six at night, if not later. Planning out my meals and carrying them with me is invaluable to my health and fitness goals.
Now I carry lunch and several snacks, like almonds and apples, to work to keep satisfied. I also plan out what time I’ll be eating in order to stay on track and avoid the demanding hunger that leads to binge snacking. The saying “If you buy healthy food, you’ll eat healthy food” is true. I can’t go home to gorge on cheetos if I don’t buy them.
It’s an Organized Commuter’s Dream
The worst thing about commuting is that you don’t have the same flexibility with meals as non-commuters. You can’t run home to eat lunch just because you feel like it. You have to wait much longer for dinner than those who live and work in the same town.
Meal planning and prepping is the only way to make commuting manageable for me. I don’t want to go out to lunch every day, and I absolutely won’t run through the McDonald’s drive-thru for dinner. My tummy and my wallet are much happier and more functional when I carry meals and snacks with me every day.
Meal Planning is Actually Fun
Okay, bear with me. I don’t mean fun in the shopping spree sense, but in the satisfactory, I-solved-the-puzzle sense. Planning my meals so they’re delicious, healthy, and efficient in terms of cost and ingredient use takes time and serious thinking. The feeling of accomplishment I have after I’ve sketched out the perfect meal plan for the week, and then cooked the meals ahead of time, places me on a high that lasts all day Monday.