3 Ways Meal Planning Helps with Weight Loss (+ BONUS Meal Plan)

We’re always in a rush and often don’t find time to cook a decent meal at home. Deciding what to eat, getting the ingredients and cooking meals on a daily basis can be stressful and daunting. When you concentrate all these activities into one weekly session, though, the process becomes much more manageable. Meal planning does just that, in addition to saving time, money, and keeping your weight and meals under control.

Here are 3 ways that meal planning can help with weight loss and improve your diet.

1. Less Processed Foods and Eating Out

It’s a weeknight, you’re tired and just want to go home and relax. You don’t feel like stopping by the supermarket and cooking a whole meal. So what do you do? You order take-out, heat up the pre-made frozen dinner in your freezer or stop by a restaurant on your way home. I’m all about enjoying a nice meal out or ordering in every once in a while because I need a break from cooking or just for the social experience. In fact, I include that into my weekly meal plan.

When you rely on outsourced foods several times a week, though, you sabotage your efforts of eating healthily and losing weight. Packaged foods from the supermarket, even the ones that are labeled as “healthy", often hide harmful or unhealthy ingredients that can hinder your weight loss. Eating out or ordering in is also risky. Meals prepared by restaurants are often overloaded with condiments and dressings with added sugars, so they’re not ideal if you want to maintain your weight or lose some extra pounds.

Cooking at home, on the other hand, allows you to control the ingredients you put into your body and, long-term, it's beneficial to your health and will help you maintain or lose weight.

2. Less Bad Last-Minute Decisions

When you plan your meals, you know exactly what you need to buy for the ingredients. You don't have to wander from one aisle to the other at the grocery store to decide what to buy, so you‘ll be less tempted to add unhealthy choices to your cart. You’ll shop with more awareness and be more likely to stick to what’s on your shopping list.

Once you have all the ingredients on-hand, you