Effective meal planning tips to save money and stay healthy
Do you struggle with meal planning? Do you often find yourself caught out not having food prepared or stocked, or not knowing what to eat? Then check out these important meal planning tips that will not only make you healthy but will also save your time and money.
Making daily food decisions can be difficult, especially if you already have a full schedule that includes commitments to family, friends, and work. Being unprepared frequently results in making poor meal decisions and selecting takeout or whatever is most convenient. The act of creating a weekly menu that best meets your nutritional needs is known as meal planning. Making dinner decisions, shopping for groceries, cooking, and cleaning up afterwards all take a lot of time. Planning ahead and organising your meals prevents last-minute trips to the store, which cuts down on aimless roaming and excessive spending. As a result, meal planning helps you save both time and money. (Also read: Must-have nutrients for breakfast, lunch and dinner; nutritionist suggests )
Nutrition Coach and Practising Dietitian, Liesl Rozario, shared six important tips on her Instagram account for meal planning that will save your money, time and will also keep you healthy.
1. Make a plan: actually set some time each week to plan out both your meals and snacks. If you’re tracking take some extra time to log your food ahead of time too.
2. Consider your time and schedule: don’t plan elaborate, time-consuming meal prep recipes if you don’t actually have the time. Think about your schedule for the week and how much time you can allow for meal preparation.
3. Make a shopping list: look at the ingredients you need for your meals and snacks and check to see what you already have. Go into the grocery store with a full list of what you need. By this you don't have to visit the store multiple times in a week and by knowing what to buy it will also help you save money.
4. Don’t forget about the weekends: A week doesn’t last Monday-Friday, so why should your diet? Forgetting about the weekends is setting you up to fail. Make sure you plan enough meals and snacks to get you through the full week.
5. Include foods you love: All foods fit within a healthy diet. Including foods you enjoy removes any feelings of restriction, making the diet easier to adhere to and more sustainable.
6. Include some convenience options: It’s not uncommon that things don’t go to plan or you simply run out of time to prepare a nutritious meal. Have some backup options ready. Think frozen meals, soups, pre-cooked proteins and carbohydrates (e.g. rice cups, cooked pasta), tinned tuna and vegetables, frozen fruit & veg, and any other ready-to-eat foods you can find.