It’s finally happened – 2018 has come to a close and 2019 has begun, signaling a fresh start and maybe, a New Year’s resolution to not only eat better, but to eat more plant-based meals.
Why plant-based? Recent studies have shown that a vegan diet can help reduce your risk of a multitude of chronic illnesses, including cancer. It also just happens to be one of the most planet-friendly ways to eat. But if you’re new to plant-based eating, figuring out what to eat every day can be a big undertaking.
According to the Mayo Clinic, planning your meals is one of the most effective ways to eat healthier. Not only that, it can also help you save money. But planning everything yourself can take up, whether you end up thumbing through cookbooks or browsing recipes online. Using a plant-based meal planner can be a great way to cut through the noise and free up your time, so you can easily find meals you love that are specific to your dietary needs. But that’s not all using a meal planner can help with – here are 11 reasons to kickstart the new year with vegan meal planning.
11 Reasons to Kickstart Your Year With Plant-Based Meal Planning
1. Eat Healthier
Whether you’re looking to eat better or hit your plant-based protein goals, planning your meals is an easy way to help you eat healthier. Knowing what you’re going to eat and when will help you stick to your grocery list and avoid impulse buys that while tasty, might go against your goals.
2. Save Money
According to data from Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resource Defense Council, Americans throw away $165 billion worth of wasted food per year.
Planning your meals means knowing exactly which ingredients you’ll need for each meal. Having a week’s worth of meals in place makes you more likely to avoid buying that yummy vegan boxed mac and cheese and anything else that might tempt you. Also, remember not to shop on an empty stomach!
3. Waste Less Food
Going hand-in-hand with saving money, knowing what you need ahead of time will prevent food from ending up in the trash and eventually, landfills. Data from the USDA shows that we waste roughly a quarter – or 25.9 million tons – of all the food produced for domestic sale and consumption. You know what they say – waste not, want not.
4. Save Time
While you can save time with meal planning by thumbing through your favorite cookbooks and recipe sites, you can save even more with a vegan meal planner. Just take 30 minutes at the beginning of the week to sit down, explore your options, and pick your dinners for the week.
5. Try New Things
Familiarity is comforting – especially when it comes to comfort foods. It’s said that there are 300,000 edible plant species out there and a whole world of cuisines just waiting to be discovered. With a meal planner, you might feel more inclined to try something new.
6. Stick to Your Resolutions
Whether you’re looking to eat healthier, gain weight, put on muscle, go vegan, and everything in between, having your meals in place will help you ensure that you meet your goals. Through a vegan meal planner, you can easily customize your meals to your body’s needs, so you’ll worry less about not sticking to your resolutions.
7. Stress Less
Planning dinner can be a hassle – even if you’re just cooking for yourself. There are so many possibilities out there that sometimes, it’s just easier to enter your preferences and let the meal planner do the suggesting.
8. You’ll Always Have an Answer to ‘What’s for Dinner?’
For families, and for yourself, having your meals planned ahead of time means that you’ll always have an answer to a question dreaded by the unprepared, “what’s for dinner?” If you have a family, you can even set up a little calendar in the kitchen showing the options for the week and spend some time together what you’re going to eat, and when.
9. Avoid Impulse Buys
Even if you plan your meals, there’s one thing that might get you: impulse buys. Almost any grocery store is decked out with tempting snacks and candy bars, specifically designed to make you buy when you’d rather not. A plant-based meal planner lets you account for snacks, too, so you’ll have an easier time avoiding store-bought knowing that you have something to satisfy the munchies.
10. Make a Positive Impact on the Planet
Studies have shown that animal agriculture has a devastating impact on the environment while evidence has proven that a plant-based diet can drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Eating vegan food is not only kinder to your body, but it’s also far more sustainable than meat, dairy, fish, and eggs. Eating less meat and dairy doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on your favorite foods, either – you can still enjoy meaty, cheesy comfort foods, all made from plants.
11. Save Animals’ Lives
By choosing a plant-based, you’re helping to spare the lives of the animals raised for food. So many of our most-loved foods are centered around meat and dairy that it can be intimidating to think of what those meals look like without. A vegan meal planner can introduce you to staple dishes and unique culinary experiences that leave animals off your plate, and help you follow a kinder lifestyle.
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