According to the latest federal data, the average American household spent $8,289 on food in 2021. Of that amount, a third, or $3,030, went to food outside the home.
That’s a lot of money you could save with a meal plan. It can also help you control what you eat and cut down on unhealthy snacks.
Unfortunately, common mistakes with meal plans can ruin all those benefits.
To that end, we’ve created this guide on what those mistakes are. So read on, as we’ll also share tips on how to avoid them.
1. Prioritizing comfort over nutrition
One of the benefits of meal planning is that it’s convenient and allows you to cut down on the time you need to prepare meals. It also saves time because you don’t have to think about what to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Instead, you just have to whip up prepared ingredients from the fridge and cook them. Alternatively, you can reheat meals that you have already prepared and pre-cooked.
However, that convenience can make you want to make only a few dishes with the same ingredients. For example, you can prepare meals using the same sources of protein, fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, this can result in certain nutrients being lacking in your meals.
You can avoid this by creating a meal plan with varied, nutritious elements. If you’re not sure where to start, check out plant-based food delivery menus. Professional chefs and nutritionists often prepare these menus, making them a great source of ideas.
2. You forget to check what’s already on hand
You can save money with meal plans because you will only buy ingredients based on the meals you plan. You’ll also spend less on travel expenses by reducing the frequency of your shopping trips.
However, you can only expect those savings if you check what you already have on hand. If you don’t, chances are you’ll end up buying stuff that’s already in your pantry, fridge, or freezer.
This can waste not only food, but also money. Indeed, the typical American household wastes an average of $1,892 in food waste annually.
3. Not taking into account the available space in the fridge and freezer
Before planning your weekly meal schedule, make sure all of these foods can fit in your fridge and freezer.
If you buy without it, your ingredients and meals are at risk of spoiling. Besides being a waste of money, spoiled food can also cause food poisoning.
4. Preparing the same thing
It’s easy to fall into the trap of making the same dishes over and over once you’ve mastered their recipe. However, if you keep preparing and eating the same meals, it won’t be long before you get bored with your diet or food.
When that happens, you’re more likely to crave things that aren’t in your fridge. This may encourage you to go out and eat or order less healthy options.
To avoid this mistake, make a habit of changing your meal plan every week. Also, try experimenting with herbs and spices to diversify your dishes.
Avoid these common mistakes with meal plans
Now that you know the most common mistakes with meal plans, you’re more likely to get them right. Start by prioritizing your nutritional needs and checking the ingredients you already have. Remember to consider storage space and always add variation to your meals.
If you liked this article, you will be happy to read our other guides. So, check out the rest of our site for more exciting and informative blog posts!