Meal Planning Tricks to Keep on A Budget

Meal Planning Tricks to Keep on A Budget

Intro

Do you struggle to think of fresh ideas for your weekly meal plan or monthly meal plan? Are you constantly having to run to the grocery store to re-stock on ingredients for dinner? Do you wish it was easier to stick to your diet or nutritional strategy? All of these reasons are why budget meal planning might be for you! In this article, we’re showing you how to meal plan on a budget!

Does Meal Planning Help You Save Money?

Weekly meal planning is an effective way to save time by planning all of your meals ahead. Not only does this make it easier to prepare meals and stick to a diet, but it can also save you a lot of money! You buy only the food you need on your shopping list, and limit the food you waste. It also gives you the opportunity to plan meals that are inexpensive, encourage healthy eating habits, and avoid take-out meals.

Here are our top tips for meal planning on a budget.

Top Tips for Meal Planning on a Budget

Set a Time to Plan & Stick to It

First up, you need to set a plan and stick to it. Effective meal planning is all about picking a time to menu plan, and turning it into a habit. You need to pick a day and time that you know is going to work for you, and you need to make sure that you stick to it. Trust us, it becomes a lot easier to meal plan if it is a habit that you can rely on.

Set a day and time, and settle on a method of planning meals. We recommend you break it down by date, and separate each date into the healthy meals you need to plan. This way, you have a meal schedule prepared, and can stock up on all the ingredients you will need to prep meals for the week. This allows you to only buy what you need on your grocery shop, which saves a ton of money on food waste and overall grocery spending.

Don’t Skip Meals!

meals in the traditional sense

No, we don’t mean “skip” meals in the traditional sense. We mean don’t skip out on your plan! Sometimes there is the temptation to skip prep and take the easier option of grabbing takeout. Try to resist this urge, as takeout can end up being the most expensive part of your food cost. For a budget meal option, make a plan and hold yourself accountable! You’d be shocked at the money you save by cutting takeout out of your food budget.

Know the Cost of Ingredients

The first step is to know your overall food cost (or at least have a rough idea!). What this does is it allows you to estimate the cost of your grocery list. You’d be surprised how some healthy food can really put a dent in your grocery bill! So if you stay aware of costs, and take some time to really survey price in the store, then you can save a whole lot of money over time. Of course, this is a skill that becomes easier and easier the more you shop.

Buy in Bulk

Another simple tip is to buy in bulk! Bulk buying is one of the easiest ways to save money with grocery shopping. However, only buy products in bulk that you are sure you will eat! If you buy in bulk and it goes bad or you don’t eat it, then you really aren’t saving much money. Take a look at your meal plans and look for common ingredients. If the ingredient is quite frequent, and isn’t too quick to spoil, then stock up!

This also saves you additional trips to the store.

Plan for Meals That You Like

Another way to save money is to plan meals that you actually enjoy! This means planning tasty meals, but also adding variety so you won’t get bored. You might be wondering how this is actually going to save you any money. Basically, if you are planning meals that you enjoy, then it makes it much more likely that you will actually stick to your meal plan! No skipping meals to get takeout, because you’ll be more than happy with the meal you have planned at home.

Buy Ingredients, Not Dishes

Buy Ingredients

Next up, avoid buying prepped ingredients when you can. You save a lot of money by buying ingredients and preparing them into dishes. Buying food from the prepared section of the grocery store will cost you a lot more than making it yourself!

Know Your Diet

Next up, in order to plan effectively you need to know your nutritional and dietary goals. Meal planning should be done in accordance with your diet. Not only does this allow you to lead a healthier lifestyle, but it makes it so that your meal plans are sufficient to maintain that lifestyle.

If you under-plan, then you may not buy enough food, and you might have to rely on a takeout meal to fill you up! Make a detailed nutritional plan before you start meal planning that is specific to your lifestyle and activity levels.

Forget The Desserts& The Soda!

Another easy way to save money is to skip the desserts and the soda! Not only is this a healthier choice, it also saves you a lot of money on things you don’t need! Let’s face it, soda is never going to be part of any dietary outlines. This isn’t to say you can never treat yourself, of course! But try to moderate your intake of these things, and your wallet and your waistline will thank you.

Have Good Containers

Finally, invest in some good containers. This is especially important if you are meal prepping, and thinking ahead for the week. Containers make it so much easier to store your food, and freeze it if necessary. This makes it much easier to stick to your meal plan. Additionally, reusable containers will save you money from not having to constantly replace them.

 Thanks for checking out our guideto meal planning on a budget!

Planning Meals for the Week – Top Tips, Tricks & Full Guide!

Planning Meals for the Week

Intro

Have you ever thought about getting into meal planning? Some people swear by a weekly meal plan as a way of moderating what they eat, sticking to their dietary goals, and simplifying their meal prep process. In this article, we’re giving you everything you need to know to get started on your healthy meal plan, including whether or not meal planning is for you!

Why Should I Meal Plan?

First things first, why should you have a healthy meal plan? Meal planning offers several benefits that all pertain to creating and sticking to a diet that you choose. It offers a way to create nutritional goals, and to create a healthy meal plan that sticks to those goals. It also offers the benefits of simplifying your meal prepping process, as well as your grocery shopping process. If this sounds like it could work for you, then check out our top tricks to be a pro meal planner.

Step 1 – What is Your Diet? Do Your Research

Before you come up with meal planning ideas, you have to know what you are meal planning for. What this means is that you need to have a diet or nutritional outline for healthy eating that you are planning around. After all, the “plan” in meal planning is only relevant if you have a goal that you are planning toward.

What this means is that your first step is to outline your nutritional goals. This depends wholly on your lifestyle and your personal goals. Whether your goal is to lose weight, fuel an active lifestyle, eat more healthy food, or just to save time by planning your meals, you need to outline these goals before you get started so you can plan properly.

Step 2 – Set Aside Time to Plan

make a weekly menu plan

Next up is that you need to set aside time once a week to make a weekly menu plan (or at whichever interval works for you). Pick a day that works best for you. Many people choose Sunday, as it represents the start of a new week, and it’s a day where many people have a lot of spare time to come up with different meals.

Pick a day that works for you, and one that you know will work for you going forward. It’s a lot easier to stay consistent if you know you have a certain day each week to get the planning done.

Step 3 – Stick to It, Make It a Habit

Building on the last point, you need to turn each week’s meal plan into a habit. Whichever day you choose, stick to it, and make sure you do it each week. The most important part of meal planning is making sure that you stick to it. Habits are much easier to keep if they cease to become an option. So whichever schedule you choose, stick to it, and do it every time. After a while, you’ll simply be on auto-pilot.

Step 4 – Plan

The next step is to actually plan! Once you’ve set aside the time, you need to actually plan your meals in accordance with your dietary goals. Many prefer to plan lunches and dinners for the week, but you should plan as many meals as you are comfortable with. Try using a grid calendar to simplify things. Plan meals in accordance with your goals, but also try to give yourself variety, and try to choose meals that you actually enjoy.

The basis of a good meal planning routine is in choosing meals that you can stick with. So be sure to actually choose meals that will meet your goals, without sacrificing on taste too much. Of course, the more you do it, the easier it become.

Step 5 – Purchase and Prepare

weekly grocery shop

Just like the planning stage, you should also set aside a time to do a weekly grocery shop. This way, you might only have to go to the grocery store once a week! Once you’ve planned out your meal ideas, make a list of all the ingredients you need, and get shopping. If there are ingredients you know you will be using regularly, then you might want to buy them in bulk, so you’ll have them for future weeks.

Your next major decision is how far ahead of time you want to prep your meals. Many find that meal planning goes hand-in-hand with meal prepping for the week. However, it’s up to you. You can prep all your meals for the week, or you can prep them day of. It’s all about sticking to whatever schedule you chose.

Step 6 – Adjust as You Go

Of course, you’re probably never going to plan your meals perfectly. Any good plan allows for some leeway. After all, you’re never going to perfectly predict what your week entails. So, leave some room for adjustments as you go. If you feel like switching it up one day, go for it. Just be sure to try your best to stick to your initial menu plan. The more closely you stick to your meal plan, the easier it becomes to stick to the habit, and keep it going in future weeks.

Step 7– Reflect

When you’re still new to meal planning, it’s important to take time to reflect. What worked for you? Was the planning process effective? Are your dietary goals sufficient for your lifestyle?

Take some time to reflect on your goals and also on the planning process, so that you can adjust them for future weeks. Look at your vegetable, fruit, and protein intake to see if you’re getting enough and if you need to change up your grocery shopping list. It is all about getting closer and closer to the point where your meal planning for the week is a breeze! Nutrition is always a work in progress, but the more you do it, the better you get at it!

Step 8– Repeat

And finally, repeat the process! Once your planning period is complete, start again. As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, meal planning is all about turning a routine into a habit. It’s a way to turn your nutritional goals into things that you can actually achieve. So, once you’re done with your first round of meal planning, get started on the next one!

Planning Meals for the Week – What to Know and How to Succeed

Planning Meals for the Week – What to Know and How to Succeed

Planning Meals For the Week

There are plenty of reasons why you should plan your meals for the week, and in this article we’re going to show you how to do it right.

Whether it’s because you want to save your time from the hectic weekday scrambles, or you want to make sure you are sticking to a healthy, nutritious diet. Planning meals ahead of time is a great way to have all your meals in order before the week even starts. Also, if you plan the proper way, you can save on that grocery bill by only buying what you actually need.

Let’s take a look at how to plan your meals in the most efficient way to reap the maximum benefits:

Before you Start: Make a Nutrition Plan

Before you start to plan your meals for the week, you need a consistent plan to guide you. This plan comes in the form of some nutritional guidelines, or your own dietary needs. This one depends on your personal preferences.

Whether you are cooking for taste, for protein, to lose weight, or in accordance with a specific diet, you need to know what your dietary goals are before you get started with a meal planning regime. Having a set of nutritional guidelines to follow not only helps you to plan your meals, but it helps you accomplish your goals as well. So whatever your nutritional goals are, consider them in accordance with the steps below.

Step 1: Make a Consistent Time

Step 1 Make a Consistent Time

For the first step, set aside a consistent time to plan your meals. It will be a common theme throughout this list, but it is much easier to stick to routines if you simply make them a habit. Set aside a time every week, and stick to that time to plan your meals. By making these things a routine, it becomes one less thing to think about.

Many like to do this on Sunday, because it is a day off for many, and the official start of the week. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to set aside about an hour. Stick to this schedule and it becomes second nature.

Step 2: Check What You Have

For the next step, you want to take an inventory of what you have. Your meal planning is best done if it’s done by accounting for what’s in your house already. Not only could you potentially make use of some leftovers, but you will know of all the ingredients you have available to you.

This is an important preliminary step, because you will know what you have available to make, and what you need to pick up at the store.

Step 3: Use a Calendar

The best way to organize your list (in our opinion), is with a simple calendar. Divide a calendar into the days of the week, and leave a slot for all the meals you want to plan. Breaking it down this way is great because it is highly visual, and gives you a good overview to ensure that your meals are varied, and in accordance with your dietary goals.

From here, simply plug in your meals for the week. Keep it consistent with your goals, and be sure to consider the ingredients that you have available from step 2.

And remember, try to keep things varied! If possible, give yourself a few meals that you really enjoy. Eating is supposed to be enjoyable after all. You can even slot in a few meals where you get takeout, or order pizza!

Step 4: Get Ingredients

Step 4 Get Ingredients

Once you have all your meals laid out, take stock of everything on your list so that you can decide what you need to prepare your meals. From here, make a grocery list and get shopping.

If you have properly considered all the ingredients that you already had available in your house, then you might not need to pick up too much. Regardless, it is good practice to account for all the ingredients at once, so that you only have to head to the store once. This helps to streamline the entire process so you can get it all done at once.

Step 5: Prepare

And of course, for the next step we prepare the food! Of course, since you were only planning your meals, how and when you prepare them is up to you. Some prefer to prepare all their lunches for the entire week on one day, and some prefer to prepare their meals right before they eat. It really boils down to personal preference.

But whatever you choose, by following this process you already have a clear, consistent outline of your meals, and you have the ingredients to prepare them. You’ve already eliminated a major headache of deciding what to eat for each meal. Your plan is in place, your ingredients are ready, and you are ready to accomplish whatever your nutritional goals may be!

Don’t Forget: Consider Who You’re Planning For

Before we wrap up, remember to always keep in mind who you are planning for. If you are cooking for family or for kids, or prepping meals for anyone else, be sure to consider their needs as well.

Try to make meals that everyone will enjoy. Planning meals is a complicated process, but trust us, the time you spend here will be more than made up in the time you save later.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading our guide on how to plan meals for the week. As you can see, the best strategy is to make a habit out of it. The main reason we plan meals is so that we can avoid the stress of planning each meal individually, and scrambling to get ingredients each time we need to cook. By planning meals, you are making it so your weekday meals are stress-free, and you always have the proper ingredients to get the job done.

It may seem like a lot of work up front, but when you see the time you save all throughout the week, you’ll wonder how you did it any other way.

How to Organize Meal Planning – 9 Tricks

How to Organize Meal Planning – 9 Tricks

Weekly meal planning is all about meeting your goals. It is a way of structuring one of the most important things in your life – eating! An effective healthy meal plan will account for all of your dietary goals, and streamline them so that any healthy, delicious recipe is an attainable, quick meal.

Don’t Be Intimidated!

Meal planning can seem like a pretty daunting task for beginners! Organizing your weekly menu at once, doing the weekly grocery shop, taking account of various nutritional factors, accounting for levels of activity, all while making a delicious recipe! It can all seem like quite a lot.

However, as with most things in life, the more you break something down, the easier it becomes. This article is here to help you understand the meal planning essentials and provide some easy planning tips. We’ve broken down the process into all of the relevant steps you will need to plan meals that meet your personal dietary and culinary food goals.

1 – Define Goals

The first step in the meal planning process is to define your own personal dietary and nutritional goals. The entire point of planning meals is so that you can meet some sort of menu plan – whether it is in congruence with a diet, to fuel an active lifestyle, or simply to cook food that tastes good for lunch or dinner.

Regardless of your reasons, you are “planning” meals in accordance with some sort of ideals. So the natural first step is to define these ideals. You need to know your own personal nutritional goals, so that you can plan meals to meet these goals. Often, this will start with an understanding of the basics of nutrition.

So sit down and think about what you want to achieve with your eating, and keep this in mind, because it will be guiding you throughout this whole process.

2 – Set a Diet

So, once you have defined your dietary and nutritional goals, it’s time to narrow in on the small details. Set yourself a personal dietary or nutritional plan that works for you. There are many helpful diets and nutrition plans that you can find online.

Set a Diet

If you are really struggling with this part, a visit to a nutritionist can also be a good idea. You have so many needs which are specific to your body and activity levels that is impossible to suggest a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s all about knowing yourself and setting a plan.

3 – Plan Each Meal (Set One Time If You Want)

The next step in effective meal-planning is actually setting aside a time to plan meals. Depending on how far you like to plan ahead, you could plan all your meals for the week, or you could plan daily. It’s all about whatever works for you!

The key here is picking a method of planning and stickingto it. Routines become habits when you pick a consistent time and actually set out todo it. So find a routine that works for you, and be sure to make it into a habit. This way, it will actually result in a lifestyle change.

4 – Get Supplies

After you have planned out your meals, it is time to get supplies. As you can see, we put this step after the planning for a reason. Many go into the grocery store aimlessly, and that’s exactly what you want to avoid with meal planning. Look at your plan, break it down by ingredients, and get those ingredients.

5 – Stick to a Shopping List & Schedule

Similar to the way you set aside time to plan your meals, you should do the same with shopping. Pick a day and time that will work for you to pick up your supplies for the week (or whatever length of time you have determined) and stick to it!

Surely you are starting to see a pattern here. We are turning these routines into habits, because that’s how you make a lifestyle change.

6 – Prep!

Next up, prepping the meals! Depending on your preferences, you can prep meals in advance, or prep them day of. Meal prepping is a whole other area of nutrition that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.

Regardless of how you choose to prep, this step is easy! We have already planned our meals and gotten the supplies, so now it’s just about preparing them.

7 – Store It

Store It

Once again, this one depends on whether you are leaning toward a more “meal prepping” sort of schedule. If you are planning ahead so you can prep meals for the week, then you will likely need some containers to store it all in your fridge. The size and functionality of your containers will depend on the meals you are prepping. There are various sizes, shapes, levels of insulation, and different compartment options to choose from.

8 – Make Adjustments

Next up, make adjustments! Although we have focused this article on planning ahead of time, you will see that nothing is set in stone. If you have adjustments that are needed from day to day, then that’s totally fine. If you went on an extra long run and need to make a bit more, then go for it!

The entire point of this process is to make it easier to stick to a healthy eating schedule, and sometimes you need to make changes on the fly.

9 – Plan Your Next Week (Variety!)

And this takes us back to the start, to plan your next week of eating! As you can see, meal planning is all about establishing and sticking to a great routine. The purpose of meal planning is to develop a schedule that promotes healthy eating and sticking to your nutritional goals. It is a way of simplifying the process, and also will end up saving you a lot of time by streamlining the planning, buying, and cooking process.

But nowhere does it say that all meals have to be the same! Plan each weeks’ meals with some fun variety. Mix up the cuisines, and keep things fresh. For whatever nutritional or dietary routine that you choose, you’ll find hundreds of recipes and inspiration ideas online! Just because it’s a routine doesn’t mean it has to become stale, after all.