Last month I shared with you five inflation-busting tips to help your food dollars go further. This month I want to expand on one of those principals: Planning Your Meals in Advance.
The concept of pre-planning meals is certainly not a new one, but it is essential if you want to make the most of your monthly food budget. Besides saving you a lot of money, pre-planning your meals gives you an opportunity to make healthier food choices for you and your family. Here are five tips to help you make the most of planning your meals:
- Plan your meals according to the season. Although technology has made many foods available year round, mother nature is still the boss when it comes to peak harvesting times for fruits and vegetables. Knowing when a fruit or vegetable is at the peak of its harvesting season will benefit you because it will taste its best and it will also be more economical to buy.
- Start small by planning only a few days at a time. Meal planning is not complicated but can seem overwhelming at first. Taking it day by day then expanding to a week will help you build your core recipes and family favorites. As you get comfortable doing that, you can expand your planning to an entire month, which will make this task less challenging.
- Shop the sales. You can plan your meals in advance then plan around your local grocery store sales. Compiling several weeks of planned meals will allow you to shift meals around according to whatever items are on sale.
- Plan themed meal nights. Discover foods from different regions and incorporate this into your meal plans; for example, Taco Tuesday and Amazing African Inspired Friday.
- Leave a free day–plan on not planning! Whether that’s having a leftovers day or choosing to grab an occasional meal out when you’re busy, it’s okay. Don’t punish yourself for not cooking.
So far in this series, we’ve looked at five inflation-busting tips and planning meals in advance. In our next article, we’ll review buying whole foods. I hope you’re finding ways to incorporate these ideas into your own family’s budget, and, as always, thanks for reading!