How can I meal prep for a week, cheap? It’s not that hard!
Do you want to learn how to meal prep for a week on a tight budget? There is a misconception that cooking food in bulk is more expensive than making a single dish at a time. This idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, anyone can spend too much at the grocery store, but if you follow these tips, you will actually save money. Here’s the answer to, “How can I meal prep for a week cheap?”
Avoid Prepared and Convenience Foods
Why is fast food so popular? Because it’s convenient. However, that doesn’t mean it’s budget-friendly. If you want to reduce your spending, you need to choose affordable foods, and prepackaged, prepared foods are not an economical way to go.
The grocery store features aisles upon aisles of convenience foods. You’ll find plenty of microwave-and-go type meals throughout the store. While it may tempt you to pick up these easy fixes, you’ll spend a pretty penny for them. Here’s a good rule of thumb: the less time it takes you to prepare something in your kitchen, the more you’ll end up paying for it.
So, what should you purchase during your next stock-up adventure? Look for uncooked, unprepared, unpackaged items. You’ll usually find these around the perimeter of the store or in the bulk food aisles. Fresh fruits and vegetables (especially those in season) are generally quite affordable. Canned veggies are another inexpensive alternative, and you can store them in your pantry for years. However, avoid canned beans like the plague. A bag of uncooked beans runs under a dollar at most stores and will make enough food to feed your family for weeks.
Don’t bring the kids food shopping with you—their curious eyes will find every pricey item on the shelves. Grocery stores place bright, colorful packaging at a child’s eye level for this very reason. And remember, products with tag lines or mascots cost more than unbranded versions—after all, someone has to pay the marketing guy.
Rotate Meatless Meals into Your Menu
Meat is one of the most expensive items at the grocery store. And it also goes bad faster than other fresh food options. Limiting how much beef, chicken, pork, or fish your family consumes is a good way to fatten up your wallet. Instead of relying on meat for protein, look for vegetarian alternatives.
Contrary to popular belief, there are numerous vegetarian protein sources. Tofu and other soy products contain large amounts of protein. Beans and lentils are other great options. You’ll also find hidden protein in spinach, kale, and other greens. You can still build muscle while eating a plant-based diet.
Even if you have a “meat and potatoes” guy in your household, you can still find recipes they will love. Instead of serving up a boring salad, consider making a large pasta casserole or hearty potato soup. As long as you use enough spices and some tasty ingredients, the biggest meat-lover in your family will warm up to some meatless meals each week.
The Freezer Is Your Best Friend
is a huge problem. Americans toss out between 30-40 percent of their purchased food each year. Think about how much money you’ve spent on food that ended up in the trash. When money is tight, you can’t afford to waste anything. You need to consume every last bite. However, you also don’t want to eat spoiled or rotten foods.
The freezer is one of the best modern inventions of our time. Before this appliance, people could only prepare enough food for a single meal. Now you can simply freeze precooked meals until you want to eat them. Most foods last for months in the freezer without any problems.
As a meal planner, you should make large quantities of food at once. Anything you won’t eat in the next day or two should go into the freezer. Pack leftovers into freezer-safe containers, and label each meal.
Frozen meals also help you save money. You can stock up on fresh ingredients while they are on sale and consume them months later. Couponers fill their freezer to the brim with all sorts of great deals. Many people choose to rotate through their fridge to enjoy a variety of meals during the week. When you finally decide to eat a frozen meal, it will taste the same as when you first cooked it.
Eat Like a King but Budget Like a Commoner
There’s no reason you can’t enjoy delicious foods when money is tight. Meal planning not only takes the guesswork out of what’s for dinner, but it also helps you manage your finances better. You can prepare a week’s worth of dishes for less money than buying a single meal at a restaurant. Knowing where you can trim the fat will help you keep more cash in your bank account.
Even if you’re working to save money on meal prep for a week, you may need a title pawn to help you out right now. Come on in to Title Tree, and we can help you get the cash you need.