How to save money and time with meal planning
We are all looking for ways more than ever to save money. Eating from home is one of the quickest ways to cut spending however it takes some time and effort to plan and actually do it!
Check out the tips below if you’re looking for ways to make it easier:
1. Schedule a time to plan
The number one rule to meal planning is to schedule out your ideal meal planning time every week. The more consistent you are, the more smoothly this will go. Take time to write down your plan. While you are designing your plan, look at your schedule and decide how many meals you need to plan – some will supply leftovers which enables you to plan fewer.
2. Pick easy recipes
Figure out how much time will you have to prepare your meals, and choose recipes that fit in your schedule. If you have a busy week, don’t plan elaborate meals for that period. Be realistic. Most of us don’t have time to prep for two hours for a meal for one week. Instead, look for easy recipes that take about 30 minutes to prepare, or meals that you can put in the slow cooker and dish out as soon as you return home. It also helps to make the first meal of the week the most simple. By beginning the week nice and easy you will have a better chance of keeping the motivation and momentum going all week long.
3. Plan your meals around the local specials
After you have taken inventory of what you have at home, check out the grocery store specials. This will allow you to see what’s on sale during the week to help with ideas on what to make.
4. Try a theme
Choosing a theme will help with using some of the same ingredients in each meal. If Mexican is the theme of the week, you could have tacos one night, but could also use those same ingredients in a burrito or taco salad for another night. Recipes with some of the same ingredients will definitely minimise how many things you need to buy. Plus, if you change your mind on a recipe, you can easily switch it up.
5. Meal prep in advance
If you have a day off or are working from home and get a longer lunch break, take some time to prepare the ingredients that you’ve purchased for the week. Marinate and season any meats you have. Chop up your veggies in advance. If you purchased ingredients in bulk, stick them in the freezer.
6. Use all of your ingredients
Use all of any ingredient purchased for a recipe. If something calls for cilantro, for example, don’t let it go to waste. Put it in your salads, chilli, salsa or you can even freeze it. By using up every last bit, you don’t waste money throwing away unused portions.
7. Pack a snack on the go
One of the main reasons people tend to eat out is because they don’t plan. If you don’t plan far enough ahead, you won’t have time to pack a lunch before you leave for work and you’ll eat out. If you have a lot of errands to run and can’t make it back home for lunch, most likely you will eat out. A high protein snack will help keep your energy up and push the hunger away. It will also help save money should you be out grocery shopping at the time – you won’t just buy things just because you are hungry. Also make sure you always have a water bottle with you as dehydration is often mistaken for hunger.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be to be tedious or expensive. You can save on your grocery bill every single week and have some fun with your meal planning too. The more fun it is, the more likely you are to stick to it.
Don’t wait until next week to start meal planning. Begin today and B-Active For Life.
Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than a decade of experience. Look for B. ActiveForLife on Facebook