One of the best ways to efficiently spend your food dollars is to meal plan. Some households do this one week at a time and others plan on a monthly basis. No matter the frequency, when you start with a plan you reduce the likelihood of food waste and impulse spending. If this is a new concept for your household, start small. Maybe begin by planning your household’s one main meal per day for one week.
Developing Your Shopping List
Meal planning begins with taking inventory of what food you already have on hand and what food needs to get used up according to expiration dates and spoilage. From here, decide on seven dishes or however many for the time frame you are planning for. Read the recipe or recall the ingredients and craft your grocery list from here. Plan around grocery store specials and in-season produce. Be on the lookout for coupons, but take care to not to get sucked-in by good deals that really are nothing of the sort!
One-dish meals are likely to go further, providing leftovers for lunches or second night reincarnations. You may even decide to prepare large batches, dividing into portions and freezing. It’s fun to experiment and you may even be able to enlist preparation assistance from family members, but make sure before buying an unfamiliar food that you have tried it, like it, and know how to prepare it. Remember, bulk might be cheaper at the register but may end up costing you more in the end if it spoils and you wind up throwing it out. Only purchase the amount of food you can store or eat before it spoils.
Prevent Food Waste
If you decide to prepare big batches, take the time to make provisions ahead of time to maximize your extra costs and efforts. This will help to cut down on the amount of food you throw away. Freeze leftovers or use them in other recipes like soups or casseroles.
Nutrition Is Always Key
Of course, good nutrition is optimal when it comes to feeding your family. Conventional wisdom tells us expensive, ready-to-eat salty and sweet snacks are not nutritional. They may satisfy a craving or occupy us when we’re worried, tired, or bored, but fulfillment is short lived and the objective is not met. We will still need healthy foods to properly fuel our bodies. Avoid excess soda, expensive energy drinks, and coffee shop drinks.
Snacking? A bag of carrots is cheaper per ounce than potato chips and the nutritional comparison is laughable. Remember, healthy eating does not just happen, rather it requires affording time and attention to the goal of good nutrition. This means limiting or even eliminating pre-made meals and fast food consumption.
Obstacles as Opportunities
Who knows, this may be the jolt you were looking for to get your family on track to healthier eating. The changes you make due to your current situation could actually turn out to be just what the doctor ordered. After all, healthier eating makes for healthier living.