Healthy eating and a tight budget don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By meal prepping instead of dining out, you may find that you can maximize your budget. Meal prepping is about individually portioning meals at the beginning of the week. This is a great way to reduce the amount of money you may waste on food, making it easier for you to stay within your budget.
How Will Meal Prepping Help My Budget?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends around $3,000 a year dining out. Instead of paying $10 a day for lunch when at work, simply planning your meals, purchasing the products needed, and preparing your meals at home can significantly reduce the amount spent dining out, leaving more money you can save.
What Do I Need to Meal Prep?
Meal prepping doesn’t require too much, and all you need are some ingredients and reusable containers. You can put your meals in resealable plastic bags, glass containers, or plastic food storage containers. Just make sure to find food storage containers with leak-proof lids that are microwave-safe and BPA-free, as you don’t want to risk spillage or expose yourself to toxic materials.
Where Can I Find Meal Prep Ideas?
Food blogs have plenty of ideas for meal prep that cater to all types of diets. Gatheringdreams.com, Sarahcucinabella.com, and loveandlemons.com have plenty of ideas for make-ahead meals that have plenty of variety to keep your stomach full and your taste buds happy. Additionally, there are meal ideas for special diets, such as for vegetarians, and people on a budget to make sure that your meals meet your diet or financial goals.
Best Tips for Meal Prepping
Know Your Food Safety Basics
Since you’ll be preparing meals, you’ll want to make sure you’re preparing everything safely. Clean your hands and surfaces often, cook everything to the proper temperature, and refrigerate promptly. You may want to use a food thermometer if you’re cooking meat.
Use What You Have
Before sitting down to make a shopping list, take inventory of what’s in your pantry. What ingredients can you use for cooking that can be good lunch or dinner ideas? Once you know what you have, you can figure out the groceries you still need to complete the recipes. Once you have the list, you can be smart about your grocery shopping. You may even try grocery pickup to avoid impulse purchases. Using what you already have in your fridge, freezer, or pantry can save money by not wasting food.
Buy Things in Bulk or on Sale
Buying ingredients in bulk is a great way to cut down on the cost of groceries. Instead of purchasing individual boxes of rice or cereal, consider stocking up on bulk items of necessities. Buying in bulk will also help reduce packaging waste while also taking advantage of discounted prices. Make sure to shop the sales to spend your money wisely. If any ingredients are on sale, stock up to save for future meals!
Maximize Time Management
Meal prepping should make your life easier, not more difficult. Find ways to cook ingredients faster to cut down on time spent cooking. You may want to cook one meal to last for a few days so that you pay less on the ingredients. Blanching vegetables by dipping them in boiling water and quickly cooling them is an excellent way of cooking all your veggies for the week in one fell swoop.
The secret to eating healthy on a budget can be meal prepping. With these tips, you can start saving money in no time.