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Meal Planning has got to be one of the biggest success secrets in the kitchen! Not only does it save money, but it saves a ton of time and stress, and it prevents food waste by giving a purpose to everything!
What I’ve learned as a dietitian over the years is that helping clients with what to eat is not enough! It’s the how that really makes the difference in being able to consistently and regularly nourish our bodies! That’s why both meal prep and meal planning are such big components of the Make Food Feel Good Program. So I want to share some super easy tips that will be game changers in how to approach your weekly meal planning and meal prep to save you money and sanity!
Before we dive in, if you take anything from this, here are the biggies!
Absolutely yes! You’ll save money you might otherwise spend eating out and/or ordering in and it’ll ensure everything gets used up, saving money from food waste. Plus, having a grocery list prevents you from spending money on unnecessary items. Read more here.
This will depend on how much you were spending on groceries previously. But having ingredients at the ready, knowing what you’re eating each night, shopping sales—and planning based on what you’ve already got on hand—will drastically reduce hours in the kitchen and money on your grocery bill! Find out how to do that here.
Check your calendar
First step, always check your calendar to see what you’ve got going on for the week! Make sure to only plan for the nights you’re home to save money and make sure no food goes to waste!
Shop your pantry and freezer first
Before you get started, see what you’ve already got on hand for inspiration as you do your meal planning. This will save you money on your overall grocery bill and prevent wasting food by letting it go past its expiry date (or going freezer burnt!)
Plan your meals around a few core ingredients
Instead of planning five or seven completely different meals, plan around a few core ingredients that can be mixed and matched into different meals. This will help you use up what you buy rather than wasting a bunch of partially-used ingredients.
I like to use The 3-2-1 Method which details how to prep 3 different vegetables, 2 different proteins, and 1 carbohydrate, so you’re ready to go for quick meals!
Spice it up
Keep a variety of spices and condiments like curries, coconut milk, canned tomatoes or tomato sauces on hand. These will help turn your core ingredients above into entirely different meals with little extra time, effort, or money spent!
Plan meals around foods that are on sale
The Save-On-Foods app makes it super easy to shop and take advantage of all the great weekly deals! Here I can find and load all the My Offers savings for the week as well as Darrell’s Deals and More Rewards points promotions. New deals are loaded every Thursday to give you tons of options to mix it up each week!
Make a grocery list
Do not skip this step! It will save so much time and money. This will help you stick to what you need and prevent grabbing random items when you’re at the store—especially if you’re hungry, which brings me to the next point …
Order your groceries online
I have fallen in love with using Save-On-Foods online shopping service. This is by far one of the best ways to save money with meal planning! Not only can you order online but you can get your groceries delivered to your front door or have them available for pickup! It makes it super easy to shop deals, compare prices, and prevents you from making impulse choices when you find yourself starving at the grocery store at 5pm.
Incorporate plant based proteins
Plant based proteins are a great way to save money and support the environment. Remember recipes are just a template! You can still use your favorite go-to recipes and just swap out the protein for chickpeas, beans, lentils or tofu!
Make your life easier with grocery store shortcuts
Consider pre-prepped options like chopped veggies or rotisserie chickens. Time is money! And sometimes saving those extra steps will be the difference between making a home cooked meal or ordering in. While these items can be pricier, when they are on sale, they can actually be more cost-effective!
Purposely plan leftovers
Not only will this meal planning tip save you time but it will save you money too! If you’re not a big leftovers person, you can totally freshen up leftovers by making different variations of a meal (e.g. make extra taco filling for a leftover lunch taco bowl or extra chicken for salads).
There you have it! Meal Planning really can save a ton of money, energy, and stress. Incorporating a simplified meal prep can make a huge difference too!
Which was your favorite tip? Share in the comments below and please add to it with your own ideas if I missed any! And if you found this post helpful, your star ratings mean the world!
Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you try these out so I can cheer you on! Happy Meal Planning!