About 52% of Americans think that it’s easier to figure out income taxes than to figure out how to eat healthy. There’s so much information out there about nutrition, it’s hard to figure out what to do.

One of the ways to beat back this confusion is by planning meals in advance. You’ll be surprised by the health benefits of meal planning.

Read on to discover what they are.

1. Save Money

Americans go out to eat close to six times a week, spending at least $2,000 a year by some estimates. When you prepare meals at home, you simply don’t spend as much money.

The main reason why people eat out so much is that they’re not prepared to cook. They might be missing a couple of ingredients, or don’t know what to cook, so they figure it’s easier to go out.

2. Reach Weight Loss Goals

There’s another cost to eating out so much – your waistline. Meal planning gives you an arsenal of ideas so you control what you eat and when.

Plus, meals out are full of added calories. That’s because we find value in the amount of food given for what we pay for. A ton of food for a small amount of money equals great value.

You end up consuming more calories, which makes you gain weight over time.

3. Minimize Anxiety About Food

Sometimes, the most stressful question is, “What do you want to have for dinner tonight?” That kind of pressure adds to an already stressful day.

Spending a little time meal planning takes the stress out of the situation. You know what meals you’re going to prepare on which nights. You’ll always know what’s for dinner.

4. Set a Good Example for Kids

Parents always want to set a good example for their kids. There’s no better way to do so than around meal planning. Kids today are more likely to be obese and addicted to sugar than ever before.

Showing them how to create a healthy meal plan is a positive thing. You show them that it’s possible to have a healthy relationship with food, rather than resort to crash diets.

If you plan and prep meals on Sundays, you can get your kids involved in the process. They learn cooking skills, and how to plan meals for themselves.

They’ll be more likely to take those positive food choices into college and beyond.

5. You Have Variety

Do you like to try foods from different cultures? Maybe you like to experiment in the kitchen once in a while. Meal planning gives you the freedom to do that.

You pick out a new recipe to try and plan to make it that week. It gives everyone in your family a chance to expand their palettes and have fun with food. Check out this holistic health blog for creative and healthy recipes.

Give Planning Meals a Try

There are so many benefits of planning meals in advance. You’ll end up making better choices around food. You could lose weight and save money at the same time.

Do you need more food inspiration? Click on the Food tab at the top for more great content.