To some people sitting down to plan meals might seem like something that causes you to spend more time, than less time. But, the truth is, by planning meals, you’ll save time shopping, and you’ll be ready each day when it’s time for dinner instead of running through a drive through. The drive through isn’t really as fast as you think it is. First, you have to go out of the house each day, drive there, then wait for it, then drive back and hand it to everyone. Plus, you and I both know that fast food is not actually food. No amount of assurances are going to ever make fast food a truly healthy choice, therefore, you might as well save time (and money) planning meals.
If you’re not sure where to start, try starting on a recipe site like AllRecipes.com. You can use it free for basic features, but if you want to do real meal planning pay the upgrade fee which is quite low for what is offered. There you can find recipes, move them over to your menu, then export into a printable shopping list. They also have mobile apps so that you can avoid printing, if you desire. Plus, you could make your menu and shopping list while waiting in a doctor’s office.
Having a list to shop from at the store also saves time. You’ll be able to move through the store faster knowing exactly what you’re going to buy, avoiding the impulse purchases that can plague you when you have no idea what you need. Many apps provide shopping lists in the typical order of a grocery store so that you can find your items faster. Whether using an app, or a paper list, you won’t forget what you need, so you won’t need to make a return trip. This saves you both time and money.
When you are ready to prepare meals, you’ll simply look on your menu planner, checking the date the night before to see if you need to thaw anything. Then, in the morning you can pop your food into the crock pot if it’s a longer cooking meal, or get as much ready for dinner time as possible. Be sure to enlist the help of teenagers and spouses, because there is no reason why, especially if you work outside the home, that you should do all the work involved in preparing meals for the family. If everyone chips in, they’ll actually enjoy the meal more anyway.
As you can see menu planning saves a lot of time in your day. No more wondering on your way home from work what you’re going to feed the family, no more trips in the fast food line, or last minute store runs. All, time savers alone, but put together could literally add hours to your week. Hours you can use doing something fun, like reading, or pinning your favorite meals on Pinterest.