Easy tips for my weekly meal planning and cost savings strategies to help promote a long term, healthy (and delicious!) lifestyle.
Meal planning is one of my not-so-secret secrets to maintaining significant weight loss and saving money. I find it so helpful to sit down and think through the week ahead to determine my and my family’s food needs and how to make the healthiest decisions. Meal planning and cost savings are great for anyone to help stay on track.
Offering healthy cooking advice and sharing weekly meal planning tips go hand in hand. These tips and tricks have become even more relevant and helpful as we have transitioned into spending more time at home and making our own meals. And let’s be honest, we could all use some extra support to either begin or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Tips for weekly meal and food budget planning:
Schedule Meal Planning: Set aside 30 minutes once a week to work on meal planning. For us, this typically takes place on Sunday morning. Is Wednesday evening better for your schedule? No problem. Whenever you do it, schedule the time and stick to it every week. Eventually, it will become habitual.
Love smoothies? Stash a bunch of smoothie bags in the freezer to quickly throw in the blender on busy mornings. Do you always find yourself scrambling for a sweet treat at 3 pm? Make homemade granola bars or a healthy muffin recipe instead. By taking the time to plan these meals, you won’t be tempted to make a last-minute Starbucks run. ($$ = Saved!)
Multiple Recipes for the Same Ingredient: How many times have you had leftover ingredients only to end up throwing them away weeks later when you find them in the back of the fridge?? Oh… so just me? Awesome. As a family of 4, we often have leftover veggies such as butternut squash. (Have you seen how many cubes one squash provides??) Instead of wasting the leftovers, we save them for the end of the week to use.
Eat Seasonally: When you eat food grown close to your home there is very little that you need to do to make it taste incredible. Don’t believe me? Compare a freshly picked apple from a local orchard to a waxy red delicious grown across the world. By eating seasonally, you are always paying less for these items which means you are also saving money.
Favorite Recipes Using Seasonal Produce:
- Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios (winter)
- Asian Citrus Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken (winter)
- Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken (spring)
- Strawberry Kale Salad with Walnuts (summer)
- Caribbean Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa (summer)
- Stuffed Acorn Squash with Farro and Chorizo (fall)
- Warm Hummus with Ground Lamb and Pomegranate (fall)
Cook Once, Eat Twice: Double a recipe and enjoy the leftovers for lunch or freeze for next month. Not only does this save money and avoid waste but it will save you calories by avoiding the temptation to go out to eat for lunch. Here are several recipes that double up well and taste even better the next day:
- Chicken and Black Bean Freezer Burritos
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Gluten-Free Banana Nut Muffins
- Slow Cooker Beef Chili
- Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
It has been a fun challenge to create weekly meal plans that are not only healthy and taste delicious, but also save money. I would love to hear from all of YOU. What are your favorite tips and tricks for weekly meal planning?
Get out that calendar; your pen is waiting.