You can save both time and money when you opt to do meal planning. While it might seem difficult at first, once you get into the habit, just like any activity, it becomes second nature. With the cost of groceries constantly rising and obesity on the rise, meal planning is an option that solves both problems, while also cutting down on the time spent in the kitchen during the busy work week.
Do you have far too many carryout Styrofoam cartons in your refrigerator or other leftovers?
Nothing goes to waste when you meal plan and make meals ahead. If you’re eating out two or more times a week or are constantly trying to guess what’s in the dish in the back of the refrigerator (Is it brown vegetables or green meat?), then you need to make meal planning a priority for both your health and the health of your budget. You plan meals one night a week, using the sale items and coupons as a guide, then create a grocery list after you’ve checked to see if you have all the items on hand. In season fruits and vegetables should be at the top of your list.
Create a menu using many items more than once.
If grilled chicken breasts are items on your list, save money by buying the whole chicken and cutting it yourself. You can freeze the chicken wings until you get enough for a whole meal or cut and grill the whole chicken at once, using some of it for chicken salad and other dishes, with bones and leftovers for making broth or soup. Shop all at one time when it’s most convenient. You’ll cook your meals for the week all at once, so shopping the night before your free day or days is important. Make sure you already ate before you shop, or at least had a healthy snack. It helps you stick with your designated grocery list.
You’ll save time and money cooking several things at once.
Cleaning and cutting vegetables and fruit all at once and packing them in plastic bags or bowls in the refrigerator can make dinner salads and fruit desserts easier at a meal. It also means there are quick, healthy snacks available for you or your family. If you’re baking chicken, casseroles or other dishes can bake at the same time. You can even double the recipe and pack meals for other weeks or emergencies when you don’t have time to prep.
- When it’s time to make meals during the week, just heat and serve these healthy meals. It takes less time than sitting in the drive-through lane waiting for a quickie burger, is healthier and costs far less, too.
- Leftovers at the end of the week can be used for soups. Save the bones from meat to make broth and leftover meat, poultry or fish for additions to the soup. If any prepared veggies are left, slice and dice them into the soup.
- Cooking rice and potatoes ahead and reheating them on another day has added benefits. The process actually lowers the glycemic levels of food, so they’re easier on blood sugar levels.
- If you’re dieting, make individual plates with the exact serving size to help regulate calorie intake. You can also save time and have fun by getting the family involved in the cooking and packing process, with a walk to the park or other healthy reward for a job well done.
For more information, contact us today at Travel Trim