Life is busy enough. Add getting the kids back-to-school, whether they're going in person or learning at home, and time becomes ever more the precious commodity that always seems in very limited supply. Not to mention, carefully planning your meals will save you money in the long-run.

How many times have you randomly gone to the store only to find that two weeks later you're having to dig that sadly forgotten container of fruit and those two low-fat Greek yogurts you were *totally* gonna start adding to your diet? Yep. Happens to us all.

On top of that, if you're doing your best to eat in a more healthy way, less time makes it all the easier to just order that pizza. Again. (Not that there's anything wrong with pizza, but--ya know. Balance.) Planning your meals ahead of time is also a great way to manage how calorie counts.

If you've never tried meal planning, at first all the pre-prep seems like a TON of work. But, I think you'll find that once you get in a habit of planning your meals, writing out a grocery list, prepping and storing the meals you're going to have each week, you'll end up saving a ton of time in the long run.

Another bonus? When you plan, you're also aware of how you're going to use those inevitable leftovers that we're always, well, left with.

If the idea of meal planning seems overwhelming, The Daily Meal comes to the rescue with some easy tips to "hack" your meal planning in the weeks ahead:

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