College students can benefit greatly from the practice of meal planning. (Photo credit: NoahHelps.org)
Meal planning can seem intimidating at first. What if I don’t know what meals I’m going to want all week? There are solutions to this. You can have different meals prepared, so you can make decisions during the week based on what you may be craving that day. Once you get past the decision-making part of what food to plan for, come all the benefits.
1. Stress of cooking: This could be one of the biggest benefits. When you have a busy week filled with schoolwork, a job, having a social life, and any other activities that may be taking place, making food for yourself can be the last thing you want to do. Your time is very limited. Choosing one day out of the week that time can be dedicated to working on all the meals for the week would help tremendously. Then, during your busy week all you have to do is grab a meal out of the fridge, heat it, and you’re good to go.
2. Money saving: When people are busy and don’t have time to cook, they often resort to buying food out. I know I have done this many times. Eating out a couple of times a week may fit in your budget but eating out multiple times in a day, probably doesn’t.
3. Healthier options: When meal planning, you will be able to plan well thought out balanced meals. On busy days, it may be very easy to grab a couple of granola bars and call it lunch. This was not going to keep you sustained or keep your energy up for the day. Not to mention all the nutrients you are missing out on.
Meal planning may not seem fun but give it a try at least once. It helps me get through my busy college schedule. The food doesn’t even have to be portioned out meals. A pot of soup you can grab spoonfuls out of, or a big salad pre-made up can be sufficient. Keep it simple!