Eating is a part of everyone’s daily routine. What people eat plays a major role in their quality of life. Unfortunately, busier people have a harder time sitting down for healthy home-cooked meals. Because of this, they struggle to meet their daily nutritional needs. Not to mention the high costs of regularly eating fast food.
Fortunately, there is an effective way to eat healthy and save time: meal prepping. Meal prepping is a technique that involves planning and cooking meals ahead of time that can be reheated later. Cold items like salads and smoothies can also be prepared ahead.
In addition to being healthier, people who practice meal prepping have an easier time saving money without missing meals. Here’s a list of simple techniques that even beginner meal preppers can benefit from.
Buy In-Season Produce
Produce is an important part of a healthy diet. To save money, it’s a good idea to buy in-season produce in bulk. Think about it, produce can be used in every meal. One setback is that buying loads of produce in advance can lead to waste if it’s not eaten in a timely manner.
An easy remedy is to freeze excess produce. Cutting up some fruit and vegetables and freezing them gives you months of produce that can be thawed out and prepared at any time. Just remember to label each bag with the date in order to routinely use older produce first.
Create a Weekly Menu
Most people have heard of weekly rituals like Taco Tuesday. Not only is this a fun family tradition, this helps save money on groceries and time figuring out what to eat on a daily basis. One day, get everyone together and decide on a weekly menu. After mastering the weekly menu list, feel free to occasionally switch things up.
Cook Similar Items All at Once
Some families have dietary restrictions or prefer eating certain proteins. For instance, some families eat mostly chicken or beef during the week. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to cook the protein for each meal at once.
For instance, if the weekly menu calls for three days off chicken dishes, why not cook three days worth of chicken? Simply season, cook, and bag them with their other ingredients. If it helps, cook the sides on the same tray with the proteins. Once each meal is separated into containers, they can be reheated later.
Invest in a Quality Slow Cooker
Anticipating a long day at work? A slow cooker is a busy person’s best friend. Gather the ingredients the night before and store them in the fridge. Getting a good food steamer is also not a bad idea.
Any meat or veggies that need thawing can be taken out the night before. Take a few moments in the morning to add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, set it to the lowest temperature, and leave for work. The meal should be finished by the time everyone gets home.
Buy the Most Frequently Used Items in Bulk.
In order to save money, consider buying regularly used items in bulk. It’s especially wise to buy pantry-friendly items like seasonings, pasta, and canned goods that have a long shelf life in bulk. Buying grocery items in bulk also saves money on transportation. Fewer trips to the grocery store not only saves money on food, it reduces the amount of money spent on gas.
When it comes to finances, every dollar counts. However, saving money doesn’t mean skimp on nutrition. With these simple meal prepping tips, even busy families can lower their expenses and still have nutritious meals.