Do you find that your attempts to follow a healthy diet have carved into your food budget? If so, it’s never too late to change your habits. Read on to learn how planning your meals in advance can actually help you save money on food.
How to Stock Your Kitchen
Seasoned grocery shoppers will know that buying in bulk is always less expensive than purchasing smaller quantities. When you’re deciding which meals to prepare for the week, consider recipes that call for versatile ingredients, such as rice, beans, or pasta. Then attempt to incorporate these into as many meals as possible.
Also know that a well-stocked pantry is one of the greatest money-saving gifts you can give yourself. When you keep a multitude of spices, salts, condiments, and other cooking staples on hand, you won’t be starting from scratch for every meal. This will make it easier for you to choose recipes based on what you have available.
Tips for Staying Under Budget
Make a list—and stick to it. Since you already know what you’ll be making, there’s no need to fill up the cart with superfluous items. Buy only what you need for the weekly menu. This requires having a grocery list each and every time you head to the store.
Take stock. Chances are, you already have the building blocks for a meal or two right in your fridge or freezer without realizing it. Before you go shopping, do a quick inventory of what you have on hand. Try to incorporate any ingredients that are either nearing their expiration date, or have been hanging around in the freezer for longer than a few months.
Keep it simple. There’s no need to go gourmet for every meal. A savory roast chicken accompanied by steamed veggies makes a perfectly appealing dinner, and you can use any leftovers to top a salad or two later in the week.
Once you’ve gotten into the habit of planning and prepping your week’s meals in advance, you’ll find it easy to stick to the schedule—and your budget. Bon appetit!
Health Benefits of Meal Planning
If you have your meals planned in advance, you won’t feel so overwhelmed about the prospect of cooking dinner. The preparation will prevent you from throwing in the towel and ordering pizza or some other unhealthy take-out option. Additionally, you’ll be more likely to incorporate fresh vegetables and lean protein into your pre-planned meals, since you’ll already have the ingredients on hand. This will not only benefit your health, it will cut down on food waste as well.