Yes, it's a pain in the butt. But (pun intended), there are 3 big benefits of meal planning worth remembering:
Our fridge has never been so organized and therefore easy to find things. As you may know, we've had some housemate conflicts with our fridge. Now, we worry less about selfishly taking over too much space.
We used to take ingredients out, looking for one or two small items, hidden behind tall containers.
Then, we had to spend time putting everything back into the fridge. Since it’s faster to find things now, we spend less time prepping and cooking.
Alex and I used to shop for groceries together because we didn’t have a plan.
We strolled in and picked up what looked appetizing. We would huddle in the middle of the grocery store concocting our meal plan for the week. Right there. How’s that for efficiency?
Now there is an agreed-upon plan. Only one person goes grocery shopping. Not only does this cut down our shopping time significantly, we can zip through the store a lot faster, confident that we didn’t miss anything.
It also helps us divvy up the chores because the other person can work on food prep or laundry because she isn’t at the grocery store.
Or simply relaxing at home, confident the other person is buying exactly what’s need. No micro-management needed!
Reduce Food Waste
Through decluttering, we no longer find nasty leftovers stuffed at the back of the fridge that we should have enjoyed 2 weeks ago.
Thanks to the recipe formulae, we avoid buying exotic, one-off ingredients specific to one recipe. Things like anchovies, kelp, and pickled cucumbers.
We simply don’t eat this stuff on a regular basis, so we end up throwing it out after a few years of neglect. What a waste of space and dollars.
And the extra benefit of a meal planning system is we learn to improvise. We alter recipes to suit the ingredients we have on hand.
No black malt vinegar? How about balsamic vinegar?
No ground cloves? How about cinnamon instead?
Yeah, it’s an abomination if written as a recipe. Keeps us sane and streamlined though!
Our meal planning system has already made a huge difference in our mental energy when we go food shopping.
But, we’re not doing great on the food prep and cooking front. That’s why you are here, dear reader.