brown paper grocery bag with fruits and vegetables coming out of the top

Ways to Save: Meal Prep

Eating out can be costly. Here are a few tips on how you can enjoy great meals at home.

Save money by making your meals at home.

As the cost of living of living continues to rise, feeding your family may be more difficult. High restaurant prices coupled with the stress of getting everyone ready to go out or waiting for your table can make eating out a less than desirable option. The alternative is making your family meals in your own home. While busy schedules can make it challenging to have the time for cooking, there is something to be said for spending time as a family eating at the kitchen table. Plus it’s WAY cheaper!

Where to Start?
Before you decide to make a trip to the grocery store, have a plan and understand what you want and need to purchase when you are there. Here are some tips: 

  1. Create a schedule for the week of pre-planned meals. 

  2. Understand how many servings you need to prepare to plan for the amount of ingredients you’ll need  

  3. Check the pantry before you go to see if you already have some ingredients to prevent over spending. 

  4. Look for coupons in your local paper / grocery store apps.  

  5. Set a budget and stick to it.

At the Store
Once you make it to the store, consider purchasing store brand items where you can as they are almost always considerably cheaper than popular name brand items. Other ways to help prevent overbuying are: 

  1. Go grab a basket when possible instead of a cart to help keep your trip to only the essentials you can carry 

  2. Carry a calculator so you are not surprised with the total when checking out 

  3. Focus on in-season produce as it is likely to be better priced since there is a healthy supply. 

  4. Look for bulk options i.e….dried beans instead of canned beans to make your dollar go further 

  5. **Bonus TIP*** Look for brands/items that are higher or lower on the shelf and not on eye level. Grocery stores tend to put popular, and usually more expensive, items at eye level.

Time Management
If you are concerned with not having the time to cook meals, here are a few ideas to help you make the most of your cooking time: 

  • Create a cooking schedule o Involve all members of your family. 

    • Each person has a dedicated day to cook. 

    • Eliminate the pressure of having the same person prepare every meal. 

  • Make large meals 

    • Leftovers are great! 

    • One meal can turn into two or three meals if everyone really enjoys it. 

  • Have a packing party  

    • Use the whole family to help. 

    • Separate out / pre-measure all ingredients for each meal for the week on Sunday evening. 

    • Package ingredients together so it’s easy to prepare in minutes when you want to make a specific meal.

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