December 01, 2017
Life gets busy and staying within budget can be difficult when it comes to quick, easy meals. Below are a few tips for how to plan and prepare meals on a budget.
USE RANDOM FRIDGE / PANTRY ITEMS
Looking through your fridge and pantry helps with meal planning. Try to come up with meal ideas that use your fridge and pantry items so you only need to buy items you don’t have. Also taking pictures of your fridge and pantry can help you avoid buying items you already have once at the store.
Not only can you save money by using up random pantry and fridge items but you can also get creative and challenge yourself to come up with new recipes using only those items. If you’re not the creative type, simply perform an internet search for recipes that include the items you have.
BUY IN BULK
Buy items with long shelf life in bulk. Items such as quinoa, rice, dried fruit, nuts, and spices are good to keep on hand so it makes sense to buy them in bulk.
Just as buying items in bulk is a good idea so is preparing meals in bulk. This only works when the item is something that will keep when frozen. For example, make a large batch of soup and freezing a portion of it. This is a good way to avoid becoming bored with your meals. Freezing a portion of the meal allows you to preserve it while you eat other meals so you aren’t eating soup for weeks straight.
Make sure your preparing proportional meals to avoid over-eating and over-spending. Click here to view a portion size plate guide on WebMD.
A good way to portion out your meals is by placing meals in glass or plastic food containers. Using a reasonable sized container for each day and filling it with your meal is helpful in planning your meals and properly storing food.
CONSIDER BUYING GENERIC BRANDS
Generic brands are often cheaper than name brands and if the nutritional information is comparable, they can be money-saving substitutes.
BUY SEASONAL ITEMS
Fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they are in season so it makes sense to cook meals with items during the appropriate season. Click here to view the Fruits & Veggies More Matters® list of what fruits and vegetables are in season. Keep in mind that some items are in season year-round depending on where you live.
CHEAP MEAL IDEAS