- Just get started! Any plan, regardless of how good or bad it is, is better than having no plan at all. Have a list of meals on your fridge so you don’t find yourself scrambling at 4PM wondering what will be for dinner. It’s a lot easier planning the week’s meals on a lazy Sunday than the day of.
- Review the week’s sales flyers. Planning your meals around those items will really help make your grocery trip more cost effective! If the local grocery store is having a sale on chicken breast, put chicken parmesan on the menu. Reviewing the flyers helps ensure you take full advantage of your store’s sales cycle.
- Start your shopping list during the week by writing down items you need. Keep a tally of the things you need so you won’t forget them on shopping day.
- Shop around the edge of the store. These tend to be the fresher, less processed items. It’ll save you some money and you’ll have better nutritional options in those areas. There are healthy options all throughout the store, but they tend to concentrate on the edge of the store.
- Don’t bring your kids if you can help it. Grocery stores are designed to appeal to children, they keep all the sugary cereals and all the sweets at their eye level so they can beg and plead for them. If you can help it, and we know it’s not always easy, try to go without them.
- Keep your normal meals and create new meals by tweaking ingredients a bit. With pasta, for example, buy whole wheat instead. When thinking about rolls or biscuits, try making your own using whole wheat flour.
- Cook ahead of time. Whether you make a couple of meals to freeze for busy nights or just make extra to freeze half, it’s wonderful to know there is a home cooked meal sitting in the fridge or freezer. It’s a lot easier to defrost and/or stick something into the oven than to make a meal entirely from scratch! Another tip, make four loaves of bread at a time to freeze so that you could save money in that way.
- Do what you can ahead of time. This kind of sounds like the one above, but here we are talking about the daily preparation. For example, if you are having vegetable medley roast with steak, wash and cut the vegetables in the morning and marinate the steak so that everything is ready to go into the oven that evening. You might be much more motivated in the morning and then you don’t have to think about it all day.
- Use leftovers! Whether you rethink them and use them to create a new meal or just eat the same thing twice, this saves so much money! We recommend that you even write leftovers into your meal plan each week. If you hate eating leftovers, but often have food leftover from your meal, just start making less at each meal. This way, it’s helping the environment as well as your pocket book. Learn how much your family really eats.
- Have fun and keep it flexible! A meal plan is supposed to be helpful to a simple and peaceful home, not an extra burden.
Source: Jamie Ussher
To Happy, Healthy Living!