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Why you Need to Start Meal Planning with the Family

After a long day at work, all you want to do is lie down on the couch for a minute to rest your eyes. But half of your family is asking you what’s for dinner, so you head to the refrigerator to check if there’s anything that you can scramble into a meal. Your hopes are dashed when you see that there’s nothing inside. To save yourself the grief of running to the grocery store, you pull out your phone and order a pizza.

Staring at an empty fridge and using takeout as a back-up plan is expensive, especially when it happens every single week. The ultimate solution to this problem is to start meal planning with your family.

It Will Save You Money

Your grocery shopping technique is to “wing it,” picking up any item that catches your eye. A week later you wonder what you were thinking as you throw the rotting produce, bad meat, and moldy bread into the trash can.

People across the country make this shopping mistake over and over again. According to the campaign Save the Food, a family of four loses around $1,500 a year on food waste — that sum could be better spent on your home repairs or household savings. A thorough meal plan leaves all of the guesswork behind, so you don’t throw the majority of your groceries away.

If you want to be sure that you cut food costs, read the tips on MoneyKey’s blog to help you save money at the grocery store. They’ve put together a comprehensive list of techniques to tackle your food shopping, like:

  • Always bring an ingredient list to the store
  • Use a calculator to check if prices meet your budget
  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry
  • Buy produce in-season

You should click here to read more tips on how to optimize your grocery shopping and reduce your household’s food costs with straightforward meal planning. When you have the right supplies on-hand, cooking meals will be easy to manage and you won’t be tempted to order out.

The average American household spends $2,787 on restaurant meals and takeout in a single year. Think of what you could do with nearly $3,000! At the very least, it would make a great start to an emergency fund. You’d be in a better position to take on emergencies with confidence when you have robust savings.

Even with savings, sometimes you aren’t quite prepared for unexpected bills or repairs. Luckily, the lenders at MoneyKey also offer personal loans for people who need to make payments in a rush, but don’t have enough money in the bank to deal with them.

Just note, it’s not designed for grocery bills or regular food costs. It’s designed for small emergencies like overdue bills that can’t be ignored. If you’re in a rough situation, you should see what small dollar loan options they have available for you.

It Makes Your Week Less Stressful

You won’t have to come home and panic about what’s for dinner. Your kitchen will be stocked with ingredients for healthy dinners that you can whip up in a flash, and you’ll have enough leftovers to eat when you have no time to cook.

If you’re worried about getting overwhelmed by the work, there are plenty of meal-planning mobile apps that can make composing lists and scheduling meals a breeze.

  • A free-app like FoodPlanner will help you find nutritious family recipes and automatically create the shopping lists for you.
  • Parents with picky eaters will appreciate the Mealime app because you can create profiles that list food preferences and dislikes to make recipe searching as painless as possible.

It Will Bring The Family Closer

Planning homecooked meals will make sure that your family sits together at the dinner table and connects. Research has found that bonding is one of the many benefits of eating together as a family, forging better relationships between parents and their children. According to a Columbia University study, teens who had frequent family dinners were 1.5 times more likely to say they had an excellent relationship with a parent.

You can also bond with your kids before the food hits the dinner table. Martha Stewart believes that getting your kids involved is one of the golden rules of family meal planning — even when they’re young. Ask them to help pick out recipes that they want for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Including your kids will ensure they don’t feel like they’re being forced to endure meals you chose, so picky-eaters won’t be as stubborn when you put servings on their plates. Experts from the Nestle Research Center found that meal prepping with your children makes them more likely to eat the food you prepared and makes them feel happier about the experience.

Your meal plan won’t be perfect right off the bat. You’re going to have to do some trial and error to see what schedule works with your family and what type of recipes you can manage. Don’t give up after the first week. Soon enough, you’ll see how meal planning cuts down food costs, reduces your stress, and makes for a happier, healthier family.