Cooking for the week can help save money! Having a food budget is an important way to manage household finances. Taking things a step further to meal plan makes keeping the budget easier. Going one step further and meal prepping creates a trifecta of saving money and time. Meal prepping is the act of preparing ingredients or actual aspects of a meal ahead of time. This excellent use of time results in more freedom throughout the week.
Meal prepping can be as intensive as pre-cooking all of your meals on one day and being done for the entire week, or it can simply mean taking care of the elements of your meals that might make them too time-consuming day-to-day. You decide what works best for you!
Here are some examples of meal prepping that will make your life easier:
Pre-cook proteins for the week
If you know you need shredded chicken, browned ground beef, and boiled eggs for recipes during the week, cook all of your protein at once using a gadget like the Instant Pot– or traditional methods. Store the protein in your fridge or freezer for use during the week. This cuts down on time when making meals each day.
Buy in bulk and prep
Foods like veggies, cheeses, nuts, and other items can be bought in larger quantities which usually costs less. Chop all the onions and shred all the cheese you need for the week and store in the fridge. This saves time and energy when you are making your meals.
Some items for cold lunches can be pre-packed ahead of time. Consider prepping your child’s lunches for the week so you only need to add their sandwich and any perishable items each morning.
Organize your pantry based on the week
Get ready for the day’s meals by having the items you need at the ready. Instead of spreading the items throughout your pantry, condense the ingredients you need altogether for the week’s recipes. For example: keep beans, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings all in one spot for chili night. Add your pre-cooked protein and chopped veggies and you are set.
Pro-tip: If you know your family uses a lot of a specific items in a month, consider buying a larger quantity and prepping in advance. Many items can be portioned, cooked, and preserved using kitchen gadgets like an Instant Pot or vacuum sealer. This can make it possible to cook and freeze or store items for longer periods of time. You can shop for sales at your store and maximize your food budget and save time all at once.
Meal prepping is the final stage of maximizing your food budget. Meal prepping makes it easier to say focused on saving time and money when you live a busy life. Meal prepping can be a family affair and makes it possible to have nutritious foods each week with less hassle.