On a Budget, How do you Prepare Balanced Meals for the Week

Eating well can be a challenge for you. Between work and family, it becomes hectic to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s hard to avoid tasty food loaded with calories. Most people turn to a healthy meal plan or nutrition experts for their guidance. To make the matter worse, food marketed as healthy is often more expensive. It leads consumers to believe that they need to spend more to eat healthily. However, the truth of the matter is, healthy food is often cheaper, especially when you prepare your own food and dodge packaged food. If you are striving to save money on food, then start planning your meals for the next week. It takes a bit of time, but it will save you money later. 

  1. Make a Menu:- Create a menu in which you decide which recipe you will make for your lunch and dinner. Make a list of items that you will need from the grocery store. When you have a plan, there is less probability to spend money on fast food or convenience meals. Therefore, planning in advance is crucial for saving money on food.
  1. Stick to your Grocery List:- Once you have planned your meals for weeks, stick to your grocery list. It is easy to get sidetrack in the grocery store. It can lead to impulse and expensive purchases. Always attempt to shop the perimeter of the store first. In this way, you are more likely to fill your cart with whole food. The middle part of the store often contains the most processed and unhealthy food. If you find yourself in this situation, look to the top or bottom of the shelves instead of looking straight. The most costly things are generally placed at eye level. In addition to that, you can take help from many grocery list apps. Some of these apps can even save favorite items or share lists between multiple shoppers.  
  1. Plan your Meals around Food that are on Sale:- Check store flyers, newspaper inserts, and coupon sites online. You may be amazed at the great buys possible. Just be sure to purchase and plan for foods that you will really use so that they don’t go to waste.  
  1. Cook Meals at Home:- Cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out. Develop a habit of cooking at home instead of eating out at the last minute. Normally, you can feed an entire family for the same price as purchasing food for one or two people at a restaurant. Some people prefer to prepare food for the whole week on the weekend, while others cook one meal at a time. Another advantage of cooking at home is, you will exactly know what is in your food. Cooking at home is less costly than eating out.  In simple words, a budget healthy meal plan can get you in shape. 
  1. Plan at least One Meatless Meal a Week:- Beans, lentils, dried peas, eggs, tofu, peanut butter, and canned fish provide a great amount of protein at a good price. In meatless recipes, you can make black bean couscous salad and sweet chili tofu stir fry. 
  2. Cook Large Portions and Use your Leftovers:- Cooking a large portion of food can save you time and money. In addition to that, you can use leftovers for your lunch, in different recipes, or fixed in single-portion sizes to be used afterward. Do you know that leftovers normally make very good stews, stir-fries, salads, and burritos? So, save money by using leftovers. These types of food are especially ideal for people on a budget. Cook a large portion of meals from inexpensive ingredients and utilize your leftovers during the following days.  
  1. Don’t Purchase Anything When you are Hungry:- If you go to the grocery store hungry, then there are high possibilities you will make an impulse purchase. When you are craving, you often want foods that are not good for your health and budget. Instead of going hungry to the store, grab a piece of fruit, yogurt, or other healthy snacks before you go to the store. 
  1. Purchase Whole Foods:- Foods are way cheaper in the less processed form. For instance, a portion of the cheese is less cheap than shredded cheese. Canned beans are cheaper than refried ones. Whole foods like brown rice and oats are cheaper per serving than most processed cereals. The less processed foods are usually sold in greater quantities and generate more servings per package.

Stop Purchasing Junk Food:- Avoid buying junk food to keep yourself on a healthy track. You would be surprised to know how much money you are saving on soda, crackers, cookies, and processed meals. 

9. Purchase Frozen Fruits, and Vegetables:-Fresh fruits, berries, and vegetables are normally in season only a few months per year. Sometimes, they are rather expensive. However, frozen fruits and vegetables are equally nutritious. In addition to that, it is cheaper and available throughout the year.