Submitted Date 09/15/2019

Awesome Meal Planning Tips You Can Use To Save Time & Money

Are you saving time and money with meal planning?

Here are some excellent ideas on how to plan your meals. The tips help make your busy lives better and more productive in the area of meal planning.

Preparing & Budgeting for Food Expenses

Meal planning, in one way, is preparing and budgeting for food expenses. It is like asking the question, "What's for breakfast?" once for the entire week on monetary terms.

Rather than asking the same question every day, creating a meal plan will save you time. Plan a week's worth of meal in one sitting. Create a shopping list. Shop for and prepare the ingredients before cooking them. Search for the lowest possible prices by scanning local ads before going to the grocery store.

Make meal planning intentional. Establish a list of rotating meals. This allows you to plan more purposefully. For example, create a list of seven breakfast ideas for the week. Here are twelve breakfast ideas to get you started:

路 Cold cereal with banana

路 Warm oatmeal with apple

路 Banana & chia seeds toast

路 High fiber muffins

路 Eggs and turkey bacon

路 Fruit salad bowl

路 French toast with low-fat syrup

路 Peanut butter on toast

路 Yogurt smoothie

路 Zucchini bread

路 Breakfast pockets

路 Egg sandwiches

Meal planning ideas are entirely up to you. You are in control of what you want breakfast for your family served. Create your list of ideas based on what you and your family love.

Save Time with Meal Prep

The thought of meal prepping may appear like there's plenty of work to do. However, in the end, it saves you time and even money. Moreover, when you do them in "stages" taking one step at a time, it can eliminate the overwhelm that may come with food prep sessions.

So, how do you get started?

Meal Prep Ahead of Time

Take a look at your menu for the week. Then, prepare any food items you can ahead of time. Meal prep ideas include: slicing vegetables, shredding chicken and meat, and chopping fruits.

Doing meal prep ahead of time may also include precooking ground hamburger for quick-fix meals. Another idea is to start marinating meats a few days before cooking. Place the poultry and marinade in a Ziplock bag or plastic food container 鈥 flip or shake once a day to disperse flavors.

Choose Meal Prep Day

Choose a meal prep day which works with your family schedule. The idea with meal prep day is making life more comfortable. Do meal prep on Sunday evenings, for example. Then, during the week you will have more time to accomplish other tasks.

Prep Ahead & Use Freezer Bags

Maybe, you use specific items regularly. Prep more significant amounts of the item if possible. For example, you may use pecans throughout the month in different recipes. To save money, you purchase more giant bags of whole pecans. Prepare as much of the pecans as you foresee you will need 鈥 in smaller pieces. Freeze in portioned bags for quick retrieval when needed.

Chop Veggies in Advance

Let's say your meal plan for the week includes onions. You will need four cups of chopped onions in the course of a week. Chop onions in advance to save time in preparing any meal.

Use Any Left Overs

Leftovers are also great for next meals, such as lunch for the next day. Alternatively, you can use leftovers to make new "meal combinations." This method saves money and time. The beautiful thing is it reduces food waste.

More Meal Planning Ideas to Save Time & Money

Meal Plan Breakfast Ideas

Meal planning for breakfast makes your mornings smooth-sailing. Overnight oatmeals, overnight slow-cooker foods, and freezer breakfasts make fast breakfasts for each day. Choose easy to create recipes your family loves. Prepare ahead for the following week, or even for the next month.

Make large batches of pancakes, or French toast. Freeze many portions to use later. Mark the freezer container with type of food and date prepared/frozen. Create large batches of breakfast muffins. Freeze a part of them for later consumption.

Meal Plan Lunch Ideas

Create lunch ideas based on dinner the night before. For example, if you prepared a ham for dinner. Maybe, you can create ham pockets to take for lunch. The idea is to plan to make use of leftovers. This saves you time as well as money over time.

Prepare children's lunches the evening before after dinner. Then, the next day, lunch is already prepared. Include leftovers if possible. Alternatively, make simple lunches for the children while dinner is in the oven.

Another great idea is to prepare dinners with double ingredients. Serve a portion for the same evening. Take the second half of the meal and create dinners/lunches for another time. This way, you are cooking once for a double set of meals. It only takes a small amount of additional prep at the time.

Dinner Meal Prep Ideas

Meal planning allows you to think of healthy meal plans for you and the whole family. There are healthy recipes that you can prepare and make ahead of time to spend quality evening times with your kids. No matter how busy these days maybe, you still find time with the family.

Here are a few dinner meal prep ideas. Prepare easy freezer casserole recipes you can cook or bake later. Plan meal prep time specifically for freezer casseroles. This will help eliminate overwhelm in trying to "meal prep" for too many meals at once.

Meal Planning Benefits

Proper meal planning gives you and your family many benefits. It saves time, saves money, saves food wastes, and saves one's sanity!

Choose recipes you desire to serve. Create a meal plan. Use a designated shopping day. Prep foods ahead of time, if possible. Use some meals to cook once, eat twice. Use leftovers to prevent food waste. Also, have more time with the family during the week.

By meal planning ahead, you control eating healthier meals. Stress is lessened as you develop a consistent plan. Use your creativity and health goals to do excellent meal planning sessions!

What is your favorite meal planning tips to save time and money? Leave your comments below 鈥 I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Barbi Green


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  • Ashley Aker 4 years, 5 months ago

    There are some great tips in this post. I usually don't prep extensively but I can visualize the benefits. The kitchen can be so overwhelming which is something I often talk about in my posts. I think that you deliver some great ideas to help people remain calm in the kitchen. The extent of my planning is meal organization. I know what I purchased at the grocery store because I never stray from my list that is delicately organized. I pick something to cook one day, and also the next so that meat is pulled to thaw or marinade. I also review my recipe to make sure I plan accordingly. I have often waited until an hour before dinner to realize my recipe was a slow cooker meal. :( I am interested in bulk prepping because I love chopping and mincing in the kitchen it is very relaxing but does tend to take the most time. Thank you for posting!

    • Barbi Green 4 years, 5 months ago

      Recently, I have started creating freezer meals again. The prep sessions take the most time. But, it is so fulfilling to put 14 meals into the freezer within three hours of time. Then, I have peace of mind when life gets crazy. I can simply pull something out of the freezer the night before, or use a quick thaw option allowing it to thaw in some lukewarm water. If I forget to place the meal in the crockpot in the morning, I can add the "meal" to the instant pot for quicker cooking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!