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What Is Healthy Meal Planning On A Budget?
Healthy meal planning on a budget is not a difficult endeavor but one that takes patience and a good knowledge of what is healthy and how much each item costs. To prepare your meals on a budget you need a good solid plan. This plan must be well thought out and easy to put into place. What we are trying to do is make smart choices when healthy meal planning on a budget.
When you make the choice to eat healthy, you have to follow through. If you don’t follow through you will make it hard to save money. Healthy meal planning on a budget is not just how much money you can save but a lifestyle. This means everyone in your family must get involved. That may sound overwhelming but everyone will have a job to do so that you are eating healthy AND saving money at the same time.
Making Healthy Meal Planning On a Budget Work
If you want to make healthy meal planning on a budget work you are going to have to change the way you think about shopping. No more roaming around the grocery stores three to four times a week looking for the best deals. Shopping this way forces you to waste time, energy and money by putting added temptation at your fingertips. The more you shop the more you you run the risk of buying things you don’t really need.
A Step-By-Step Approach To Healthy Meal Planning On A Budget
There is a simple system to making this work and it involves a step-by-step approach to buying healthy and saving money. This system requires you to put the effort in to plan everything out. One hour per week can save you an awful lot of money once you are familiar with what you are doing.
Let’s Go Over The 7 Steps To Healthy Meal Planning On A Budget
- The first step to healthy meal planning on a budget is to start at the beginning. You may say, “Of course” but you’d be surprised how many people skip this step. We begin by sitting down and taking inventory of everything we have in our pantry, refrigerator and freezer so we have a good idea what food we have on hand.
- Next, we want to set up a daily meal plan starting with Sunday (since that is the day the new week’s circular comes out and when most people start their shopping) and working through each day. Set up your breakfast, lunch and dinner menus (this can all be done free with a spreadsheet from openoffice.org) plus a couple of healthy snacks by filling in what you can with the food you already have on hand.
- Now that you have an idea of what food you have on hand we’re going to set-up a list of easy recipes based on those ingredients you already have. We want to stick to recipes that are 30 minutes or less so that you’re not stuck in the kitchen all day. You have a life… enjoy it (especially with all the money you will save)!
- You can now create a week’s worth of recipes but first we need to make a list of the things we will need. This list is your bible for the week. Stick to it! Don’t compromise it for comfort foods that give no nutritional benefit but extra salt, sugar and preservatives. That is no way to make your healthy meal planning on a budget work. Instead, do this (it will bullet-proof your list). Find the two best supermarkets near you and compare their circulars. Circle the healthy foods you see on sale from each store. Add these to your list. We are now building our list around our recipes. So far, you haven’t even marked down any junk food (now you will see the savings).
- There are three sections of the supermarket where you should be shopping to take advantage of healthy meal planning on a budget. Your first area is to shop the perimeter of the store. This is where the fresh produce, meat, and dairy is located. The second is the frozen foods section. You are only here to buy frozen vegetables (yes, they are as good as fresh vegetables) because you may not see any fresh vegetables on sale or you cannot find in season fruits and vegetables on sale. There are so many healthy foods to try it makes it so easy to implement your healthy meal planning on a budget. Lastly, the middle aisles should only be used to buy beans,whole wheat pasta, pasta sauce and tuna. The rest of the store is off limits as the supermarkets are only trying to get you to spend money on high-priced junk food. This is important as we don’t want to waste time shopping.
- Next, learn to use a crock pot and a wok. These will become your best friends. They can make inexpensive meals out of what you have left over during the week such as vegetables and meat and are hearty and healthy at the same time. They save time and expense of making a full blown meal.
- Smart buying strategies are essential to making this work. That means buying in bulk only those items that you need and are on sale. If it doesn’t fit in your recipe this week… wait till it does. This is why we look for sales. Don’t be in the habit of saying I have to have this type of food this week. Be flexible, be prudent and be wise. You will find the deals and you will have healthy food to eat that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
- Here is a bonus tip for you. Those in the know have found that shopping at the Asian stores can yield great bargains on both fresh fish and healthy green vegetables. These vegetables have all the vitamins and minerals you need and many are considered super foods (at super prices).
Healthy Meal Planning On A Budget Is Something You Can Do
There you have it. By avoiding those aisles that force you to purchase unhealthy junk food, you can save that money and put it toward good food that is both nutritious and cheap, thereby saving you money in the process.
This will work for you if you follow these tips because you will not find a better way to do healthy meal planning on a budget.