I suck at meal planning. There, I said it.
I know what it is. It’s that darn “p” in my INFP that makes my brain prefer to fly by the seat of its proverbial pants. Locking down a plan and sticking to it sucks the joy out of life. (Or so says my go-with-the-flow brain.)
Now, technically speaking I’m great at the planning bit. I love writing down delicious-sounding dinner ideas and dreaming about eating them. Mmmm, tacos.
But the actual shopping/prepping/cooking-according-to-pre-determined-plan half of the equation? That part sometimes eludes my priorities. A typical scenario includes me dutifully planning out a delicious, frugal, real-food weekly menu that looks great in theory, then blissfully ignoring said plans until 4pm and texting hubby to bring home a rotisserie chicken while I steam some rice and green beans. Oops.
It seems that meal planning (menu planning? tom-A-to/tom-AH-to, I guess) is one of those bits of advice that barrages you on every crunchy corner.
“Welcome to the healthy, natural lifestyle. So you wanna eat real food, eh? ARE YOU MEAL PLANNING YET?? TELL THE TRUTH. WELL, ARE YOU?!”
Well, I must admit – those meal planning bandwagoners have a point. Yes, the benefits are undeniably great. Let’s go over those, shall we?
The Benefits of Meal Planning
It saves you money.
Because you don’t pay high prices for last-minute convenience foods, and because you can plan out some frugal dinners to balance the less-frugal ones. This is especially pertinent with dietary restrictions in place, which can drive up a grocery budget in no time at all.
It saves you time.
No more scrambling through internet recipes for something you can cook in twenty minutes with the random ingredients currently in the house, and no more multiple trips to the grocery store each week to grab this-or-that because you didn’t plan ahead. Again.
It saves you frustration.
No more daily five-o-clock-scramble. Hallelujah and amen!
Good Habits for Personal Growth
I’m in a pretty comfortable-with-myself stage of life these days. My third decade of life brought a whole new level of self-confidence that eluded me in my twenties.
I know myself pretty well (I couldn’t be any more INFP if I tried, and I’m such an Enneagram Type 4, it’s laughable to think otherwise) and I’m working on how to effectively use my strengths and intentionally work on my weaknesses.
So, while consistent and effective meal planning may not come naturally to me, it’s exactly the sort of thing I need more of in my life. I’m deeply committed to personal growth in all areas of my life, including this one. I don’t want to stay stuck in habits that ultimately aren’t serving me well. I want to push myself to be the best version of myself possible.
And given the above-mentioned benefits, I’m thinking that the best version possible of myself includes consistent meal planning.
Acquiring the disciplined habit of proper meal planning (with follow-through) is calling my name, and I’m saying yes.
(Actually, it’s kind of more like an exasperated “okay, fiiiiine”… but it’ll do.)
Introducing the Plan It Like You Mean It Meal Planning Challenge
Since I just spent 600 words convincing you of the awesomeness of meal planning, I’m challenging us both to meal plan for eight solid weeks. But not just the planning – the follow-through too. I want you to plan it like you mean it!
I will post my meal plan here each Friday (for the following week, which gives me time to grocery shop on the weekend) for inspiration, and I want you to follow along!
I’ll post the first one on Friday, October 21st, 2016, and you can share your meal plan in the Facebook group. (Join here!)
The Online Meal Planning Tool I’ll Be Using
Plan to Eat is a super useful tool for meal planning online, and I’m so thrilled that they are the official sponsor for this challenge.
I’ll be using PTE during the challenge, and sharing more about them along the way. You can sign up for their free trial here.
Check out this super quick video to get a glimpse into what PTE can do:
Whether you are a seasoned meal planner who doesn’t miss a beat, or a total newbie who doesn’t even know where to begin – this challenge is for you.
We’re in it together. We’re going to encourage one another, share recipes, and win fun prizes!
Sign up for the challenge emails to stay in the loop, and get ready for some fun. 🙂
THIS WAS POST #1 IN OUR PLAN IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT CHALLENGE. HERE’S THE SERIES:
- >>you are here<< Plan It Like You Mean It (Join Me for an Eight-Week Meal Planning Challenge!)
- Meal Planning & Procrastination (Plan It Like You Mean It, Week 1)
- 4 Meal Planning Tips for When You Want a Break from Cooking (Plan It Like You Mean It, Week 2)
- Meal Planning for the Spontaneous-at-Heart Types (Plan It Like You Mean It, Week 3)
- 20 Low-Maintenance Weeknight Dinners (Plan It Like You Mean It, Week 4)
- 12 Freezer-to-Crockpot Meals (Plan It Like You Mean It, Week 5)
- 4 Reasons Meal Planning Changed My Life (Plan It Like You Mean It, Week 6)
- 16 Breakfasts You Actually Have Time For (Plan It Like You Mean It, Week 7)
- Don’t Be Fooled. Meal Planning is Hard Work. (Plan it Like You Mean It, Week 8)
See you in the challenge!
Ultimate Bundles Healthy Meal Planning Bundle
Is healthy eating is important to you and your family? If you want to eat well, but you’re overwhelmed with decision fatigue and the busyness of everyday life then the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle is for you!
This amazing collection of e-cookbooks and bonus resources (all indexed and organized to suit your dietary needs!) will help you to simplify mealtimes and help you eat better.
This bundle has
- Over 1000 tried and tested recipes, categorized to help you find what you need
- 38 meal plans that have been made for you to choose from
- 14 cookbooks
- Meal planning resources
- Healthy eating resources
- Nutritional information on every recipe
- Each recipe is indexed by dietary needs & health goals (including gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, wheat-free, keto, paleo, vegetarian and more!)
- It integrates with the Real Plan app
- And, is backed by Ultimate Bundles 30-Day Happiness Guarantee!
If you want easy plans & recipes to help you plan and achieve your healthiest year of meals then head here to grab your Healthy Meal Planning Bundle and get started today!
I have tried so many meal planning apps-websites-methods. I recently signed up for PTE and I hope it works for me. It has to! I need to get this under control my family is hungry!! Looking forward to the challenge!
LOL! Interesting…. I am an ESFP….. That darn P….
Looking forward to the challenge!
hahaha another INFP but I am pretty much split between J and P and a 4 on the Ennegram too! will be following this challenge!
I’ve been using Plan to Eat for 3 years now. Can’t say enough good things about it. My husband and I plan meals for the upcoming week and then shop once a week. I generally make 3-4 dinner meals with plans for leftovers. The meals are not set to certain days so we can switch things around as our plans change. I don’t leave for work without knowing what’s for dinner. That little bit of planning saves on time, money and stress. We also plan on some breakfasts and lunches by making muffins and soups for the freezer.
I have been using Plan to Eat for years – I love it!! I try to plan a month at a time but grocery shop weekly which allows me to swap recipes around. We do 4 dinners, 2 nights of leftovers/clean out the fridge nights and eat out once a week. I only just recently started meal planning school lunch and it is so much easier – I am trying out new ideas and then making notes on what works (and what comes home uneaten). It takes time to get used to but now, it’s just part of my routine!
I am an INFP, Enneagram 4 also. I have found that the best way for me to meal plan is to come up with 5-7 meals for a week, get all the ingredients, and make the decision what to make the night before or the morning of. I have tried doing a set meal plan for each day, but I’m always moving things around, so this is what I have found works best for me.