When you head to the grocery store without a list, it’s easy to overspend. You might buy random stuff that winds up going to waste or get things that just don’t give you any nutritional value.
Instead of just buying stuff, why not have a plan? We’re here to help you with a few tips and tricks to meal prep like a pro.
Can you meal prep on a budget? Absolutely! It does take a bit of planning.
Budget-Friendly Meal Planning
Whether you go to the grocery store once a week or multiple times, you’ll need to learn what to shop for and how to keep an eye open for the best deals. Follow these tips to budget-friendly meals every single week.
1. Grocery Deals
Most of us throw away those little leaflets that come in the mail with ads for groceries and other products without realizing all the goodies on the pages. Instead of tossing it out, glance at it and look for deals of the week. Use it as inspiration to find the best deals and plan your meals accordingly.
2. Keep your Fridge and Pantry Stocked
In the kitchen, everyone has a few staple items like eggs, milk, and canned tuna. These are fairly inexpensive and generally come in large packages that you can use to keep stocked up.
Eggs expire but they have a decent shelf life and tuna stays good for a while. So, if you see a deal, stock up.
3. Go Meatless
We’re not here to promote any eating habits (to each their own!) but, if you’re a meat-eater, try and go meatless at least once a week.
Opting for plant proteins is much less expensive than traditional meats and comes with a lot of health benefits too. Choose something versatile like lentils and spice them up with fun veggies and spices.
4. Make Planning Fun
When it comes to planning meals, if you don’t have fun with it, things can get kind of dull. To keep from getting bored with it, go for fun-themed days that you and your family will enjoy.
Make sure to pencil in a day for fun leftovers where you can each make a creation out of the things you didn’t eat. It will prevent you from wasting food and keep things fun for all.
5. Make Leftovers Last
Speaking of leftovers, can we tell you how much we love them? We can’t say enough good things about leftovers, with tons of options to reuse them in different ways.
You can opt for fun options to throw on the dinner table or even pack up your child’s lunch box with something fun, tasty, and healthy.
Meal Prep in Minutes with These Foods
The trick to prepping meals when you’re on a budget is to be innovative and plan. You want to be able to know what you have and how much of it you have at all times, avoiding any unnecessary purchases.
For some inspiration on meals that you can try this week and those to follow, check out these meal inspirations.
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Mornings can be hectic for the family. Racing around to get everyone up and ready for their day and get them fed before they rush out of the door is a challenge, but, not when you’re prepared.
For breakfast, try things that you can throw together quick or make overnight while you rest away like:
- Overnight Oats
- Whole-wheat toast
- Peanut Butter
With these 6 ingredients, you have a mix of meals for busy mornings, all of which will keep you and your kiddos full and focused.
If you’re one to eat lunch at work and pack up lunches for the kids, you’ll have an extra step when it comes to planning. However, lunches can be fairly simple, especially if you have a few basics.
Think of adding grains like rice, quinoa, or others to your meal prep and mixing them with different veggies. For lunch, stock up on:
- Salad mix
- Grains (rice, quinoa, pasta)
- Light protein options
Using these, you can make a mix of fun bowls where you and the kids can choose your ingredients.
Dinner is the most important meal to plan. Perhaps you’re home after a long day at work and don’t have much time once you walk into the door to think about what to throw together.
You want to get dinner done without letting it take over all of your free time, choosing options that are quick, nutritious, easy to plan, and easy to clean up.
Think of adding things to your shopping list like:
- Lean proteins
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Bread and tortillas
- Greens like lettuce and spinach
Try and plan meals that you can rotate from, using leftovers from one night to make something for another. In doing so, you’ll be able to save money on your groceries while cutting down on any kind of waste.
Don’t Forget the Snacks!
When you plan well, you’ll have room to buy snacks too for much less than you might think. Grab things that the whole family will enjoy life fresh fruits, dark chocolate, nuts, and granola, and maybe one fun sugary treat like ice cream.
You’d be surprised what you can do with frozen fruits and yogurts, making yummy and creamy options that even the kids will love.
Plan on the Weekend
Because you’ll need to have a plan, it’s good to start on the weekend. Take a piece of paper and start brainstorming the meals you want to make and all the small extras you might need. In that way, you won’t miss out on a single item while you’re at the store.
Planning a week’s worth of meals when you’re on a budget is something that takes practice. However, after you plan your first one, you’ll be a pro, able to start perfecting your craft.
Next time you’re out on the hunt for food, try out our tips and tricks and see how much money you can save and how much more organized you and your meals become.