How Meal Prep Can Save You Hundreds
Welp, I’m back on the wagon. (After gaining COUGHFOURCOUGH pounds in the seven days I was in Houston…) AnyWHO, when I have had success in eating better and losing weight, it had a lot to do with planning meals.
Meal planning is a simple and effective way to save a lot of money each month, not to mention cut down on pricey (and unhealthy) dining out. Serving home-cooked meals to your family not only reduces your grocery budget, it’s a healthy alternative to fast food.
Here are a few tips and ideas to get you started:
1. Decide on frequency.
Some people like to do bi-weekly, some weekly and a few will plan out monthly meal schedules. If you’re just starting out with this concept, start with weekly planning until you get the hang of it.
2. Make a meal list.
Start writing down your family’s regular and favorite meals, including side dishes to go along with entrees. It cuts down on the “I don’t want to eat that” or “that doesn’t sound good” or “we have nothing here so let’s just order something” conversations we’re all guilty of that end in poor choices (even though the house of FULL of food).
3. Don’t overthink it.
Don’t get too fancy when you’re first starting out. Sometimes all you needs to do is roast a ton of veggies at once, bust apart a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, and HEY, you’ve got 4 meals. Or dig around in your fridge for a lunch “snack plate” like the one I made with avocados and boiled eggs (even though it could have used some fruits and veggies, I’ll admit).
Once you’ve established good meal-prepping habits with your normal meals, start getting adventurous and try some new things on the fam. Here’s our Pinterest board of all kinds of fantastic meal prep ideas to get you started.
4. Print out (or buy) a calendar.
Sit down with it and the list of meals that you made. Start by designating each day a specific meal (Monday-meatless, Tuesday-casserole, etc.), to make it easier to plan your meals around certain days. But don’t be too set on the plan; make sure you can switch around dinners if schedules change and unexpected meetings come up.
Here are some super cute free downloadable templates.
5. Make a grocery list.
Now it’s time for the overthinking I told you not to do. Ever seen Extreme Couponing? Yes, be that meticulous. Check your pantry and freezer to make sure you don’t place duplicate items on your list if you already have them on hand. Scout your grocery store ads for sales on the items you need.
Side Note: Does anyone still extreme coupon out there? I’m pretty sure all the grocery stores across the country have changed their coupon policies as a result of that show, and now those deals just aren’t out there anymore. But I would love to be proven wrong.