Meal Prepping To Stay On Budget – Isolator Fitness, Inc

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Meal Prepping To Stay On Budget

Whether you are fresh out of college and trying to make ends meet on a pauper’s salary or would simply rather splurge on vacations and experiences rather than the hum drum of the everyday budgeting is your best bet to meeting your financial goals. Making a budget is far easier than staying on that budget, but with a few simple life alterations you can become a budget following pro, who can squirrel away a bit of savings no matter what your paycheck looks like. Meal prepping is one of the most basic ways to save money, and yet so many people have trouble with the execution of this concept. Here are our meal prepping tips to help you keep a tight reign on your monthly (or weekly) budget.

 

Meal prepping can seem like a daunting task when you are just starting out, but if you follow a few simple steps you can make it a much easier process that actually simplifies your life and saves you a ton of money.

1. Make A Menu

meal prepping

It doesn’t matter if you are a master chef, or have yet to master how to boil water, you are going to need to make a realistic menu for the week based on your cooking skills. If you’ve never made a juicy chicken or flakey fish then save those recipes for the weekend or another day that you will be preparing a single portion for yourself. That way if you mess it up, you won’t have to suffer through a week’s worth of your culinary fail.

To save money it’s a good idea to center your menu not only around your cooking skills but also around the ingredients that you already have in your home. This will shorten your shopping list and inevitably save you money. If you have three pounds of broccoli in your freezer use that up before you trek out and gather more veggies.

Protein is probably going to cost you the most money, so to save a little here you can always buy plant based proteins rather than animal based proteins. Beans, lentils and nuts are all healthy forms of plant based protein that will cost you significantly less than chicken, fish or turkey.

2. Stick To A List

meal prepping

Once you decide on your meal menu for the week you should go through your cabinets to determine what you already have so that you know what ingredients you still need. Make a list of everything that you still need to make the meals that you have included in your menu for the week. Use this as your grocery shopping list and be sure not to deviate from it. If something is not on the list, then it isn’t in your menu and you shouldn’t need it for the week. Additional food items will only end up costing you more money.

3. Buy Canned or Frozen

meal prepping

One thing that you should keep in mind while you are shopping is that there is often a huge price difference between fresh, frozen and canned food options and yet there is rarely a large nutritional difference between the three. In fact, the nutritional difference between fresh and frozen is completely non-existence, so as long as you plan on cooking your veggies, buying frozen will almost always save you money. As a bonus if you don’t use all of the vegetables in your meals, the frozen variety will always keep much longer than fresh.

When buying canned vegetables, make sure that the ones that you are purchasing do not have any salt added to their cans. This may limit the amount of time that you can keep them before cooking them, but it will help balance the nutritional divide between the canned and fresh vegetables.

Canned and frozen fruit are also good options if you are purchasing primarily for smoothie or protein shake additives or snacks. Frozen fruits are just as nutritionally rich as fresh vegetables but they have a much longer shelf life, and canned fruits can be just as healthy as long as you avoid eating the sugar laden juices that they are packaged in.

4. Buy Store Brand

meal prepping

Most grocery stores not only sell the name brand options, but also their own brands made with the same ingredients, boasting the same nutritional value but for a fraction of the cost. Buying the store brand version then is easily the most convenient way to save your money and stay on budget. Whether it’s frozen fruits and vegetables, bags or boxes of chia seeds or nuts or even lean cuts of meat or fresh fish from the butcher and seafood counters, the store likely has their own brands associated with these items that can save you a pretty penny in the long run.

Become A Meal Prepping Pro

Once you’ve got the meal prepping basics down, you are ready to take on the challenge of becoming a meal prepping pro. You’ll still need all of the skills you’ve learned up to this point to succeed as a pro but now we’ll teach you how to get the best of the best and the healthiest option for the lowest possible price.  

1. The Dirty Dozen

meal prepping

Saving money is important but so is staying healthy, which means that every once in awhile you are going to have to splurge. The dirty dozen is one of those times that you’re going to want to put your health above your budget and not skimp on spending cash. That’s because the dirty dozen is a list of twelve fruits and vegetables that hold the highest amount of pesticide residues. If you are purchasing these items and you aren’t splurging for the organic variety, then it’s likely that you are consuming harmful pesticides too.

The twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables include: peaches, apples, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, sweet bell peppers, celery, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes. Wouldn’t you rather spend a little bit more money to get clean and healthy organic versions of these foods rather than taking your chances with the mass produced, pesticide ridden options? This is one time you’ll be glad that you loosened your purse strings a bit.

2. Shop Seasonally

meal prepping

When you shop seasonally for your fruits and vegetables you not only benefit from higher nutritional values within the fruits and vegetables you’re purchasing, you can also count on them generally being more affordable. This is because when something is in season it is more abundant and easier for the grocery stores to stock therefore they can sell more of them for a lower cost, because when they run out they will just restock. When something is out of season though it costs more for the store to stock it so in return they pass those additional costs onto you, the buyer.

Winter Fruits and Vegetables

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Grapefruit
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lemons
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Parsnips
  • Pears
  • Pineapples
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Rutabagas
  • Sweet Potatoes and Yams
  • Turnips
  • Winter Squash

Spring Fruits and Vegetables

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Collard Greens
  • Garlic
  • Greens
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peans
  • Pineapple
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnips

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Summer Fruits and Vegetables

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Cantaloupes
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Collard Greens
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lima Beans
  • Mangos
  • Nectarines
  • Okra
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Summer Squash & Zucchini
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Fall Fruits and Vegetables

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collard Greens
  • Cranberries
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Grapes
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mangos
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Rutabagas
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes and Yams
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnips Winter Squash

3. Use Coupons

meal prepping

Coupons are a great way to get everything on your shopping list and still make sure that you are saving money in the process. Many grocery stores but out a weekly circular in which you can find coupons for everything from animal based proteins to fruits and vegetables and even dairy and nuts. In addition to these traditional coupons, many grocery stores also offer discount cards that you can sign up for that will allow you to take advantage of additional in store savings offers.

The local Sunday paper is another great resource for coupons. Coupons in the local paper may be more specifically focused on processed foods and non perishable household items rather than fresh foods, but they can still be highly valuable when you are trying to save money on your grocery bill. You don’t have to become an extreme couponist and spend hours upon hours of your day on clipping and cutting coupons to see these savings either. A quick ten minute browse through your weekly circular and local newspaper is all it takes.

4. Stock Up

meal prepping

Sometimes to save money you have to spend money. As counter-productive as that may sound, it doesn’t make it any less true. Pay attention to the sales in your local grocery store and when a non-perishable item or frequently purchased freezer item goes on sale, stock up if you have the room. You may end up spending a bit more than you planned that day, but you will end up saving yourself money in the long run when you buy your items on sale, rather than at full price.

Say for instance that you stock up on three pounds of chicken, fish and frozen vegetables because they are all on sale. The next time that you go to the grocery store you won’t have to buy these foods because they will already be stocked in your freezer. If you are able to stock up on enough frozen food you may even be able to skip a trip to the grocery store one week and instead put the money that you would have spent on food in your savings account.  

The post Meal Prepping To Stay On Budget appeared first on ISOLATOR FITNESS BLOG.


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