A meal calendar, or what I call a menu list, is a huge part of my weekly routine, especially when I'm cooking for myself. You can definitely make one while at college and on a meal plan, even map out exact times that you will eat and where. I set aside about 30 minutes on Saturdays to plan out my menu list for the week. If you're thinking a meal calendar will be too hard and take up too much time, it’s about to get a lot easier thanks to Spoon U and Chef’d.

Spoon U is partnering with Chef'd to create recipes that are easy and take less than 30 minutes to make. They are also working toward sending out boxes with pre-portioned, weekly meal kits and care packages to get through finals! This partnership will revolutionize your meal calendar, so keep any eye out for more deets, because Melissa D’Arabians weeknight chicken Pad Thai could be yours.

By making a meal calendar, you will save precious time and feel great about the meal choices you make. Here are some of the benefits of meal calendars:

1. You'll snack less

banana, vegetable, sweet, nut
Katie Jannotta

Snacking between meals is a great practice to eliminate overeating at meal time, and I personally pick healthy recipes I'm excited about so mealtime is something I look forward to. This makes me less prone to ruin the meal by snacking on less healthy food or eating mindlessly. I hold out for the good stuff that I have planned.

2. You'll learn about what you're eating and how to cook it

vegetable, garlic, pasta, courgette, zucchini, spaghetti
Katie Jannotta

When you dedicate time and energy to planning your meals, you naturally learn more about recipes and cooking techniques. I used my spiralizer to learn how to make zoodles (zucchini noodles), and it’s not as hard as it looks. Check out one writer's experience with Pad Thai or how Abigail became less of a picky eater when she starting cooking for herself. 

3. You'll have a worry-free week

milk, tea, cake, coffee
Katie Jannotta

Make your calendar before the hustle of the week so you don't need to worry about thinking up healthy meals on the spot. Also, because you’ve planned ahead and went grocery shopping, you have all your ingredients in house and can get cooking as soon as you get home. 

4. You'll be more efficient

gastronomy, tea, coffee
Katie Jannotta

You know exactly what your meals for the week will be, so make your grocery list. Include recipe ingredients and basic things you'll need for lunches, breakfast, snacks, etc. Healthy meal choices are easier and faster with a meal calendar. Shopping beforehand gives you more time to do the things that make you happy.

5. You'll set yourself up to make mindful, healthy choices

carrot, sauce, seafood, vegetable, salad
Katie Jannotta

With a meal calendar, you won't be eating on the go. You've taken time to create your own meal calendar and know exactly what to expect—ultimate control. After selecting and buying the ingredients you need, you'll be more motivated to make time to cook what you’ve spent time and money on. Here are some tips on how to shop for groceries without going broke.

You can also include friends and family in your meal calendar. You'll spend quality time over quality food, nourish your body, and reduce food waste. Eating well is not as hard as it looks if you use simple tools like a meal calendar to help yourself out. Check out Spoon's Chef'd meal plan page today.