How To Create An Effective Daily Menu To Save Time and Money
Updated: Nov 7, 2022
When budgeting your monthly expenses, one of the things that might need a lot of attention is calculating food costs. Prices of goods are soaring through the roof, and, nowadays, eating out or getting takeout are luxuries that are just not cost-effective. So, you start thinking about cooking your meals right in the comfort of your own home.
The thing is, it's easier said than done.
Creating a daily menu will take a lot out of you—time, effort, creativity, you name it! However, there are actually only three steps to creating a meal plan:
Browse recipes online and plot out the menu you’ll have daily.
Decide which ingredients you have to buy.
Prepare ingredients ahead of time.
Sounds simple, right? Yes! But there are a few other things you can consider to trim costs and save you your precious time. Read on below!
Choose Food Items and Ingredients Wisely
Before looking for recipes and planning your menu for the week, check your local grocery store sales and base your meal plans on these selections. For example, if pork chops are on sale, choose that cut instead of others.
Check if your local grocery store posts its circulars online so you can review deals and coupons before shopping. Take advantage of these and build your recipes around them. If you find an excellent price on meat, stock up! They can easily be frozen and used as required.
Consider Your Health
What you eat will significantly contribute to your health goals. So, whether you're treating oily skin or trying to lose weight, create a plan that will have the nutrients your body needs.
Start by considering each food group when plotting your weekly meals. Include whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. Avoid sources of refined grains, added sugars, and too much salt.
Of course, eating better is just one part of a healthy lifestyle. Don't forget to make time for the activities you love, such as strength training, yoga, swimming, or running.
It’s Okay To Keep It Simple
Cooking becomes more exciting when it involves coming up with new and creative meals. However, you have to watch out for complicated recipes that require special items and ingredients, such as an expensive cut of meat or cheese. Keep your daily menu simple and easy to execute as much as possible.
Of course, you can always go all out from time to time. Just make sure you're getting a decent bargain if you need a particular item for one of your recipes. Then, maximize these by looking for other recipes that use them, or you can also freeze them for later use.
Check Your Pantry List Before Shopping
Don't forget to check your cupboard and refrigerator before going shopping for your weekly items! The last thing you want to do is waste food and money by doubling up on the ingredients you already have at home.
Do this effectively by maintaining a running inventory of your nonperishable supplies so you can immediately check it while planning your meals. You may keep this list on your phone or a piece of paper in your cupboard. Make sure you cross off everything you use completely to avoid forgetting an essential item or ingredient.
Buy in Bulk, Cook in Batches
If your local grocery store has a bulk section, take advantage of it! This will help you save money, buy only the necessary amount, and reduce wasteful packaging.
The bulk section is an excellent area to buy pantry essentials like quinoa, cereal, rice, seeds, and beans. Bring your own containers to avoid using plastic bags to carry home bulk purchases.
You can also cook in batches on the weekends, especially if you're meal prepping for an entire family. Preparing several meals at once and doubling up on recipes to guarantee you have leftovers can help you save time and ensure there is always something to eat at home. In addition, meals that you can freeze can simply be reheated when you don't have a lot of time to cook.
Order Groceries Online
If your area currently has a locally based goods delivery app, use it! It’s easy to go over your budget if you fall into the trap of buying grocery items that are not on your shopping list. Avoid this altogether by doing your grocery shopping online.
Today, many grocery shops and big-box retailers provide free grocery pick-up services, saving you time from browsing ingredient aisles and limiting impulsive buys.
Make Daily Menu Planning Enjoyable
When it comes to creating healthier hobbies, you'll often hear a usual saying: when you love what you're doing, you're more likely to stick to it. The same goes for your new meal planning practice. Try to reframe it in your mind as a kind of self-care routine rather than something you must do.
If you're the cook at home, think about involving the whole family in the meal prep process. For example, have them help you to chop vegetables or batch cook some soup for the week ahead. By doing this, you're turning it into meaningful family time instead of just another chore.
If you prepare meals alone, put on your favorite music, a podcast, or an audiobook while you do it. Before you know it, meal prep is something that you'll always look forward to.
Saving Time and Money While Staying Healthy With A Daily Menu
Proper meal planning and preparation can save money and precious time while making healthier food choices. It will be a little overwhelming initially, but every effort you put into creating a daily menu that suits your lifestyle will be well worth it.
For more tips on nutrition and training, follow The Bunker Fitness’ blog today!