How to Prepare a Healthy Weekly Meal Plan on a Budget
These days, just about everybody is tightening their purse strings. If you’re struggling to put healthy food on the table because it just doesn’t seem budget-friendly, this article will help you prepare a healthy weekly meal plan on a budget.
What is a Meal Plan?
A meal plan is simply this: You plan ahead of time for what meals you’ll cook. This eliminates last-minute grocery store runs for ingredients and saves time and gas. Instead of going to the grocery store with a list of foods to buy, look over recipes you plan to prepare for the week and write down the ingredients you’ll need.
Benefits of a Weekly Meal Plan
There are many benefits to a weekly meal plan:
• Less Wasted Food
With a weekly meal plan, you’ll already know what you’re going to cook for the week so you’ll buy only what you need. This means less food going bad in your fridge
• No More 5pm Rush
Eliminate the rush-hour-traffic question, “What am I going to make for dinner?” Since you know what you’ll be making, you won’t have to rush around trying to feed a hungry family before 6pm.
• Healthier and Weight-Loss Friendly
A weekly meal plan is also healthier and weight-loss friendly. Knowing what you’ll be preparing ahead of time means less temptation to make those last-minute drive-thru runs.
• More Variety
Chicken again? With daily meal plans, you’ll add more variety to your diet and mealtime can become an adventure. You’ll add a lot of fun and creativity into your meals by searching out new budget-friendly recipes.
• Save Money
When you learn how to construct a daily meal plan, you’ll save money by buying only the ingredients you need, eating out less often and cooking with seasonal ingredients.
How to Construct a Meal Plan
There are a few ways to construct a meal plan. The Internet is a vast resource of money-saving recipes you can tailor to suit you and your family’s individual tastes, budget and dietary needs.
Visit websites such as:
for money-saving recipes and tips. Also, if an ingredient seems too costly or doesn’t appeal to you, don’t be afraid to experiment and make the recipe your own!
Stock up on Staples
The easiest way to make the most out of your healthy weekly meal plan is to stock up on staples. This means taking a trip to Aldi or similar budget-friendly food store and buying these items in bulk:
• Beans in a Bag
• Brown Rice
*You can keep potatoes fresher longer if you store them in a wooden box with slits or a plastic container with holes at the top for air ventilation.
Daily Meal Plan
Let’s do a breakdown of the most budget-friendly foods for each meal and give you some ideas to get you started on your weekly meal plan.
If you’re a student or busy professional, breakfast may seem like too much work to bother with. With meal planning, however, you can be sure you start your morning off right.
Budget breakfast ideas include:
• Home-made Muffins*
• Breakfast Platters
• Oatmeal or Cold Cereal
• Breakfast Bars
• Breakfast Shakes
• Eggs (Vegetable Omelets are Healthy and Budget-Friendly)
• Fruit and Cheese
*Home-made muffins are best because you’re sure of the ingredients. Store-bought muffins not only cost more, but often contain additives and preservatives that can cause weight gain and health problems.
The most budget-friendly lunch you can have is the leftovers you’ve made for dinner. Salads are also a great way to pack a healthy punch to the middle of your day.
I’m not talking a few pieces of lettuce, tomato and cucumber; I’m talking a meal in a bowl.
This is my favorite type of salad to make:
• Chick Peas
• Hard Cheese
• Crushed Walnuts
• Golden Raisins
• Milled Flax Seed
I mix extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar together and have a great gluten-free salad dressing.
When it comes to dinner on a budget, the possibilities are nearly endless. Two of the most economical meals you can make on a budget are stews and casseroles. You can prepare large portions and then store them in the freezer to thaw and serve as needed.
Rice and beans are also delicious, healthy and economical choices.
One of my personal favorites is quite simple:
• Brown Rice
• Red Beans
• Collard Greens
Cook rice, beans and collards according to instructions. Mix together. Add salt and extra virgin olive oil and serve! It’s chock full of vitamins, minerals and protein and it’s very filling.
Other budget-friendly dinner options include:
• Homemade Chili
• Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
• Stir-Fry Chicken and Rice
• Shepard’s Pie
You can also further reduce your budget by clipping coupons, shopping local and buying meat when it’s reduced for quick sale. You can freeze it and use when you need it.
Preparing a healthy weekly meal on a budget is easier than you think. It just takes a little planning. Whether it’s a daily meal plan, weekly meal plan or monthly meal plan, planning ahead can save you time, money (and your sanity) in the long run!