If you’re already struggling to find enough time in the day, why would you want to add yet another task to your plate, namely meal planning?
Meal planning is often seen as burdensome, tedious and not a whole lot of fun, which is why so many people push it off to the side and decide not to do it.
But in skipping meal planning, you’re actually costing yourself more time.
The mantra that I preach is: time management is all about mind management. Your brain makes all of your decisions about how you use your time, so if you don’t take care of your brain, you won’t operate at maximum efficiency. When you don’t meal plan, you’ll tend to eat meals that are less healthy, which means a more sluggish brain and less than optimal physical condition.
By not meal planning and therefore eating less healthy, this will cost you time because you’ll:
*make less than optimal decisions about how to use your time.
*not take the most efficient and effective actions based on those less-than-optimal-decisions.
*increase the probability of weight gain, which will lead to spending more time on needing to exercise or researching the magic bullet to lose weight.
*need to spend time (and money) over the long haul at doctor’s appointments related to your change in physical and emotional condition.
Holy smokes! All of those negative effects can happen simply from not spending a few minutes meal planning.
To help you shift any negative perspective you might have about meal planning, consider these meal planning myths:
*All meals must have official titles or names. FALSE! Just call the dish by what you want to throw together, e.g., chicken and veggies.
*All meals must be from a recipe. FALSE! If you keep basic ingredients in the house, you can throw ingredients together to create a meal. Or, you can have a stash of healthy frozen meals ready to heat.
*Meal plans must be for multiple weeks or a month. FALSE! Start by planning for the next three days. If you can cut down your grocery trips to two times per week, you’ll save time just from not having to find parking, walk around the store and stand in line multiple times per week when you stop in to “just grab” dinner.
*Meal plans must be for 100% from-home meals. FALSE! If you have lunch or dinner meetings throughout the week, your version of meal planning could be deciding ahead of time on restaurants with reasonably healthy selections. If you have no say in the meeting location, you can look at the chosen restaurant’s menu ahead of time (bonus – when you’re full!) and make your meal selection before arriving.
*Meal planning must be for 100% cooked meals. FALSE! Your meal plan for the week can include an inventory of grab-and-go salads pre-packed at the store, now chilled in your fridge at home. Or deli meats and cheeses for quick sandwiches and individual packets of veggies for instant side dishes.
Taking five minutes to think about what you’d like to eat for the next three to five days will save you time because you won’t lose time to:
*stopping at the grocery store or a fast food place each day to pick up a “quick meal.”
*eating less healthy meals that will lead to needing more exercise and doctor time.
*less effective and efficient decisions about how you’ll use your time.
I’d say five minutes of meal planning is definitely worth preventing all of that time loss. And that is improved time management.
For more information about meal planning and self-care with a time management slant, check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.