Attention Hudson Valley: Save Money and Time By Planning Meals
Meal planning can be a great way to save money. If you preplan your meals and stick to the plan you can actually accomplish staying in your food budget while also eating healthier. The trick is being able to actually plan a week's worth of meals. Cooking Light has 5 great reasons you should meal plan and saving money is one of their reasons.
The key I find is having a balance between prepared items and stuff you plan to make yourself. For example, if you make a tray of pasta, say a lasagna you may choose to eat some of it one night then have a portion for lunch. The secret is to then put a portion up in the freezer so that one night when something you planned doesn't pan out you can reach in the freezer for that leftover piece
Making larger portions and putting some up in the freezer works for many food items. I will put up chili, meatballs, homemade spaghetti sauce and other homemade goodies that come out great when reheated. I have found that certain proteins like grilled meat don't freeze well after they have been cooked. If you find yourself with a piece of steak leftover it is probably best to work that into lunch or even a dinner within a day or two of the original time it was grilled.
So how exactly do you meal plan? It is quite easy. Before you head out the door to go grocery shopping take a few minutes to plan your meal for the next few days or even a week. If you spell out what you are eating on which day you can eliminate over shopping and planning dinner at the last minute. With the plan, you can also take advantage of sales.
If you don't believe that this works and that it makes mealtime easy and saves you money, I invite you to try it for 2 weeks. I am going to bet that by the end of the two weeks you have a little extra money and you also have discovered that you really don't eat too many different dishes so planning the week is actually fairly easy.
As an added value you may also discover that because you are planning ahead a portioning food for another meal you are ending up eating less and you might shed a pound or two. If planning meals will help me lose a pound or two I will plan out meals for the rest of the year.