Meal Planning As A Strategy For Less

Anyone close to me knows I’m a minimalist. It’s not to hard to figure out if you take a moment and look. I live in a 600 sq ft. condo, I don’t own a television or have cable, my vehicle is a 9 year old Honda Fit, my go to outfit is a black t-shirt, jeans and chunky clogs. If you visited me at home, you’d also find that I don’t have a lot of stuff, but the setting is still zen and inviting. If you dug a little deeper you’d also see that I don’t own a dresser and I have empty cabinets in my kitchen.

All of those things in and of themselves don’t make me a minimalist. They are small changes I’ve made over the last several years in order to simplify my life. And while I don’t have some minimalistic goal I’m striving to reach, I am comfortable saying that my endgame would be to only surround myself with that which brings me joy and those things that I find real value in. It’s a constant re-evaluate and prune process.

So, what does that have to do with meal planning? Let me tell you.

If I just go food shopping without a plan, two things happen. One, I buy items I don’t end up eating or don’t eat all of and thus end up throwing some out.  Two, I forget to get things that I do need resulting in more trips to the store and possibly additional unneeded purchases. When I plan out what I’m going to eat for the week, I can make one trip to the store and get everything I need. Yes, sometimes I have to go to a couple places, but everything is close enough where gas and time aren’t a problem.

Now, your shopping list is only as good as your ability to plan meals so it’s important to take some time and really think about what and how you eat. Take into consideration snacks and spices.  Also look at what you already have. Most of us have pantries full of items that are forgotten. Try to use what you have whenever possible. In fact see how many meals you can plan with items you already have. Most packaged and canned food has expiration dates. If you don’t use the item, it goes to waste…and so does the money you paid for it.

When you go through your pantry, I want you to notice something. It is overflowing with foods and snacks that you only eat sometimes? If that’s the case, start weening those items out. If you want your food to be it’s freshest, only regularly used staples should make up the bulk of your pantry. I know, I know. But it was sale. Whether something is on sale or not, it’s always cheaper to buy less and use less than buy more and have it take up space and expire before you ever get a chance to use it. And here’s a secret, most of the time if you buy less than the quantity advertised, it’s still on sale…the store’s just want you to buy more.

So the takeaway is this; have a plan, make a list, use what you have and always be mindful of what you’re feeding your body.