I’m about to share my secret weapon for success (in everything I do). Are you ready for this? Drumroll, please… Organization!
I would be a chicken with my head cut off without my laid out to do lists and schedules. Without taking the time to plan before I do my weekly groceries, I would be reaching for the take-out menu all week!
Menu-planning has transformed my life in so many ways that I want to help you transform yours. Let’s look at all the benefits of menu planning together- and I’m also going to give you a gift to help you thrive in your first week!
YOU WILL BE HEALTHIER
Learning how to cook and menu-planning is how I keep in shape. It’s that simple. When eating home-cooked, balanced meals is a part of your routine; you don’t need to focus on calories or do any fad diets. Restaurants or take-out food usually have more salt, saturated fat, and sugar, whereas the meals you’ll make at home will include more vegetables and fiber, less salt – and you’ll be more aware of the portions. Menu-planning will help you with any of your health goals.
YOU WILL SAVE TIME
Ironically menu-planning might seem like an extra thing you just don’t have time for, but the opposite is true. It saves you time. Yes it might take you up to 30 minutes to plan the meals you’re going to make for the week while you write yourself a shopping list. But, that will shave time off your visit to the grocery store as you won’t be wandering blankly around the grocery store’s aisles. You will be in and out with your shopping list, pronto. Then when it comes to dinner time, you’ll be able to crack straight on with cooking, without wasting time looking for meal inspiration, or raiding your pantry trying to figure out what you’re going to make.
YOU WILL SAVE MONEY
When you’ve planned your menu, you’ll go to the grocery store armed with a list of exactly what you need to buy- meaning you won’t buy items you don’t need (meaning those packs of Oreos or your favorite chips are less likely to fall into your shopping cart). When you stick to your list, you’ll buy items you will actually eat- in the form of healthy, nutritious meals- and you won’t impulse buy stuff either! You’ll also save on not ordering as much take-out and food delivery.
YOU WON’T WASTE FOOD
When it comes to meal planning, you go to the grocery store with a plan, and know how you’re going to use all of the items. When every food has a purpose, you won’t have to worry about items in your fridge going to waste. Plus, you can plan for leftovers too. Say you’re making a chicken pot-roast Tuesday night; you can make a chicken curry or stir-fry from those leftover chicken pieces come Wednesday. You can also use leftovers for lunches or my favorite Kitchen Pro Tip- double-up your recipe, and then you can save a portion in the freezer for another day. If you check out my recipe page, you’ll find I have a filter for freezer-friendly recipe ideas, which you can check out here. It feels fantastic not to waste food and make the most of what you have in your kitchen.
YOU WILL MINIMIZE STRESS
Want to know what I consider the biggest perk of meal planning for my life? I don’t have that nagging, late-afternoon stress associated with deciding what to do for dinner. When you meal plan, you can go into the week confident and calm, knowing that you’ve taken care of your meals for the next seven days so you can focus your attention on everything else in your busy schedule.
YOU WILL GET CREATIVE & TRY NEW THINGS
There are times when life gets busy and I get stuck in a food rut having the same few dishes throughout the week. When you plan your menu for the week, you can take some time to research some tasty new dishes to try out. How about a One Pan Crispy Parmesan Chicken, Zucchini & Potatoes? Healthy Turkey Burgers With Spinach, Feta & Tzatziki Or Chicken Lettuce Wraps? Menu-planning will get your creative juices flowing and shake things up in the kitchen. Keep your favorite recipes in your menu plan once a week to look forward to. Once you have a bank of 5 or 6 recipes you like, you can constantly rotate them for a few weeks giving you variety, and switch them up by adding a new dish when you’re feeling like something new.
Whether you’re cooking for your entire family or just yourself, taking the time to plan your meals for the week ahead is definitely worth the effort. The key is just to set aside a little bit of time each week to do it. So friends, hop on over to the recipes page, where you can pick out a few new dishes that you want to try this week. To help get you started making amazing menus for your family, download your FREE meal planner that is inside my Free Quick & Easy Dinners E-Cookbook. I do this every week in my notebook, but I designed this to make life a little easier for you. Click here and I will send your gift directly to you. Once it arrives, save it on your desktop so it is easy to find! Print it off and start planning! I hope you enjoy your first week of menu planning! I love hearing when you have tried something you have learned here on Cooking With Cassandra. Please feel free to send a message below or even better take a photo of your Menu Planner and tag me on Instagram @cookwithcassandra so I can see. Cheers, my friends!