Due to rising inflation and steep increases in food prices, customers are more interested than ever in finding ways to save money on their groceries. If you want to spend less money on food while still indulging in tasty and healthy meals, meal planning can be the answer to your problems.
What is Meal Planning?
Meal planning consists of scheduling your meals in advance in order to know exactly what you will be having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the week. Meal planning helps you organise yourself and save time when grocery shopping, but it also allows you to cook in bulk, choose your ingredients carefully, avoid or reduce food waste, and avoid spending on impulse in the supermarket.
Planning in advance means all your ingredients will be on hand when you get back from work or after a busy day looking after the kids, so you won’t need to factor in a last-minute trip to the shops. At the end of the day, all of these little unplanned trips to the shop can sum up your weekly spending. Plus, if you have all of your ingredients at home, you are also more likely to avoid eating out and save even more!
So How Can I Start Meal Planning?
Because meal planning consists of cooking at home and prepping your ingredients, you should invest in high-quality kitchen appliances and equipment to make meal preparation and cooking quicker and simpler. Appliances like rice cookers, food processors, and slow cookers, along with staple cookware such as woks and saucepans, can help you rustle together quick and easy meals on busy days.
Additionally, we advise you to check online for meal planning templates. Free templates can be found on a number of websites and nutrition bloggers. Find the one that most closely meets your needs by doing a simple search! You might want to use a meal planning app if you are more of a digital person. If that’s the case, there are also a lot of choices available.
Easiest Dishes to Prepare
Many dishes are simple to put together, don’t take a lot of time to cook, and require inexpensive ingredients. Here are just a few ideas you might choose to go for.
A stir-fry is an excellent choice for when you don’t have a lot of time and means you can still have a well-balanced and healthy meal with plenty of veggies and protein. If you are looking to save more money, you can skip the protein and make it vegetarian! Combine any protein, whether that’s chicken, fish, or your choice of vegetables, and serve with rice or noodles for a meal that can be put together in just fifteen minutes.
Salads can be a great option to save money as they are an easy way to put together with just a handful of ingredients. Mexican salads can easily be made with quinoa, tomatoes, corn, red beans, and some cheddar cheese. Alternatively, you can also go for a Greek salad, which is simply made with some quinoa, cucumber, tomato, red onion and feta cheese. Play around with the ingredients and try different dressings!
Pasta cooks quickly and is both filling and versatile, making it easy to combine with a wide variety of pantry basics such as tinned tomatoes and frozen vegetables, for a meal that’s easy to put together when you’re in a hurry or haven’t had time to get to the shops.
Jacket potatoes can be cooked in the microwave or oven, and can be paired with your choice of filling, whether that’s a quick and easy tuna mayonnaise and a side salad or a generous helping of leftover chilli to warm you up on a cold night.
Don’t worry-we’re not suggesting making your own pizza dough! Use tortilla wraps or paninis as a base and add tomato puree, cheese, and any toppings you like, for something quick, hot, and satisfying.