How Smart Meal Planning Supports Your (and Your Wallet’s) Health
Meal planning is an amazing tool for those wanting to live a healthier lifestyle. It ensures that you always have nutritious, ready-to-eat options, while saving money, time, stress, and reducing waste. The idea can be a little overwhelming at first, but through some careful planning and research, meal planning can be the easiest part of your week.
Meal planning on a paleo diet can already be a difficult task in and of itself. Combine that with a limited budget and that’s when some careful consideration needs to come to mind. Good health should never come at an insurmountable cost, so how exactly can we keep a paleo meal plan on-budget?
With smart planning, paleo diets can be incredibly cost-effective. Not sure where to start? Check out these tips that’ll keep you (and your wallet) full:
Buy in Bulk
For almost all items in your grocery store, buying in bulk can save you lots of money. Think of staple pantry items like olive oil, herbs, spices, canned goods, and even dried goods; these can all be purchased in bulk and have a relatively long shelf life.
Eggs can often be bought in larger quantities at a better price per egg than your standard dozen pack. Whole chickens are always cheaper than their pre-cut counterparts, and with some basic knife skills, they are quite easy to break down. The same can be said for most meats, as grocery stores often charge a premium for the butchery they do before selling to you.
If you look outside your local grocery store, you can often find even better deals on the food used in most paleo diets. Finding a local butcher is a fantastic way to get the cuts you need at a fair price. Depending on how you buy your meat, you might need to do some additional cutting and trimming, but it’s worth it in the long run. Plus, you’re supporting local businesses!
Supplement With Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Food decay is often the number one source of waste and loss in any kitchen. While fresh produce is amazing, buying frozen or freezing fresh food can help you make things last. You don’t sacrifice quality, flavor, or nutrition, and you cut down on overall cost and food waste. Obviously, the best quality is going to come from fresh ingredients, and in a perfect world, you could buy your produce weekly and use it all up in one big cooking session.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are often cheaper and are frequently on sale, and make a vital supplement to any meal planner’s freezer. In some cases, it can be easy to find bulk frozen vegetables as well, making your trips to the grocery store less frequent and keeping you fully stocked with vegetables for whatever recipe you try.
Prepare a Grocery List
Going into any situation without a plan is ill-advised, but for those looking to meal plan on a budget, this is the number one rule to keep in mind. Knowing what you are going to cook and the ingredients you need helps ensure both your wallet and body stay healthy. Not sure where to start? Check out this handy grocery list planner!
Take note of all the recipes you have planned for the week and exactly what you’ll need to make them. With a detailed grocery list, you’ll buy exactly what you need: no more, no less. Don’t worry about deviating slightly, and grab items you think will come in handy down the line.
Remember that preparation is key to staying healthy and staying on-budget. Start off slow and find ingredients and recipes that you know you will like, and use them to build a repertoire you can rely on and build on as needed.