Every mom could stand to be more organized and a simple meal plan is the perfect way to get started. If you are on a tight budget, then having a meal plan is quite important. Meal planning on a budget doesn’t have to be horribly restrictive, it’s mostly common sense.
Why should you consider a simple meal plan? Here are a few reasons:
– Avoid wasted food which can be expensive and bad for the environment.
– Stick to healthy meals, rather than regressing to junk because you haven’t had time to plan dinner for tonight.
– Never stress out about what to feed your family again.
– Make sure the food budget stretches to the end of the month.
Things to Keep in Mind
There are a few basic things to keep in mind when you start meal planning on a budget. First of all, you want to ensure that your meals are always interesting, so add a spice, herb or condiment to your weekly or monthly budget. This will let you gradually build up your supply of various spices to add flavor to your meals.
The next thing to consider is multiple meals from one food. For example, you can purchase a whole chicken on sale, bake it and use the meat for chicken salad, chow mein and then use the carcass and some remaining meat to make chicken soup. So, keep an eye out for meats on sale and purchase enough to freeze and use as needed.
By chopping meat up, you can make it go a lot further. One pound of beef is hardly enough for two people when cooked as steak, but slice it up and you have more than enough to top 4-6 dishes of chow mein or rice.
Start all your main meals with a starch base, which will be cheaper. Rice, cous cous, barley, pasta and bread all make excellent bases for meals. These can be mixed with other foods or topped with sauces to create a myriad of dishes that your family will love.
When it comes to actually meal planning on a budget, you will need to consider the above tips, but the main thing is to be organized. Set a day when you can sit down and write up a meal plan calendar. This can be an actual calendar, a notebook or anything else that works. Make sure you know what your recipes are. If you’re using recipes that you aren’t familiar with, print them out and attach them to your calendar so you have easy access to them.
It can be very overwhelming to plan meals for a month, so most moms who are meal planning on a budget divide their budget into four, one for each week of the month. This lets you plan by the week only. Find easy to make recipes that will do well as leftovers or which can be used again the next day in a new dish (roasted potatoes become mashed potatoes the next day, for example). The idea is not to have to cook on a continual basis. If you limit the amount of cooking you have to do, you’ll save money on gas and save some serious time. Most of us don’t have time to cook every single meal, so by planning ahead, you can create meals that can just be heated up again the next day or slightly altered to create a whole new meal.
Meal planning on a budget is a great way to make sure your family eats well, even if you don’t have loads of money. Try it today and start saving.