Most Nigerians are familiar with the expression, man must wack. Yet, majority of them plan everything else but their meals. In fact, most of them don’t give a thought to their next meal until it’s almost time to have it and then, the worry and the running around trying to decide, purchase and make food begins. When the meal is over, the stress is forgotten until it’s almost time for another meal when the stress cycle begins again.
But do you really have to go through this stress day in, day out? The answer is no. One little addition in your to-do list will take the bulk of this stress away. That addition is meal planning.
Meal planning is deciding what you’ll eat every day at meal times on a weekly or monthly basis. Now, I know this is one more chore for you to handle but isn’t it better to do this chore once a week or once a month instead of every day of your life? Think about that and in case you need more reasons to start meal planning, here are some of its advantages:
It Saves Money
Meal planning keeps you organized. It not only helps you to know what you want to cook, it also helps you to know what groceries you have and the ones you don’t have. This eliminates impulse buying while shopping as it allows you to draw up a grocery shopping list that includes the foodstuffs and ingredients that you need.
If you have a list containing the ingredients for egusi soup, for instance, you won’t go to the market and start buying things for ekpang nkukwo when they are doing you from the village. Thus, by helping you to stay focused on what you need, meal planning helps you to save money.
Meal Planning Improves your Nutrition
One advantage of meal planning is that it exposes you to other meal options. Without it, there is this danger of assuming that the only foods in existence are rice, beans, yam and bread. This may cause one to slip into the boring habit of repeating foods which may not guarantee a well balanced meal. But planning your meals gives you the ability to ensure balanced meals for you and your household, meals that include the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats and oil.
It Saves Time
Nothing beats having a plan. When you have a food timetable, you go to the market knowing what you want to buy. This saves time as it eliminates any unnecessary wandering around. Also, knowing what to cook will help you prepare in advance for it. You can blend crayfish ahead of time, for instance and you can marinate and cook the meat before the day of cooking. All this saves cooking time.
Meal Planning Prevents Food Wastage
As has already been mentioned, successful meal planning allows you to know what you have in your pantry, fridge and freezer. With this knowledge, you can plan your meals around what is available. This will help you to make good use of the perishable items that you have in stock so that they don’t spoil. What’s more, including a leftover day in your meal planning is an effective technique that will also help you to curb food wastage. On leftover days, whatever food is remaining from the week is reheated and served as breakfast, lunch or dinner.
It Reduces Stress
Constantly thinking and worrying over what to cook is stressful. You’d often have to remember all the meals that you prepared in the last few days before thinking of something different to offer. You’ll also have to go through the available ingredients to know if you have all you need to make whatever food you decide on. If you don’t have the ingredients to make it, you’ll either need to come up with a different food or you’ll make a quick dash to the market or any supermarket close to you to purchase the out of stock ingredient(s). But all this stress can be avoided if you have a meal plan.
In conclusion, meal planning allows you to effectively utilize the foodstuffs and ingredients that you have in your pantry, fridge and freezer, make purposeful shopping and live a healthier life.
Featured Image Source: Endorphitness