If you’re looking for a way to enjoy delicious and healthy meals without breaking the bank, you’ll want to read on. Budget-minded individuals can still enjoy fantastic food by preparing their meals in advance.
There are many different ways to go about budget meal prepping, and the best part is that you can tailor it to fit your own needs and preferences.
In this article, we’ll provide useful tips on how to save money while grocery shopping as well as practical ways to meal prep on a budget. By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to start your own budget-friendly meal prep journey!
Table of Contents
Buy Produce in Season
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to buy produce that is in season. Not only will the produce be cheaper, but it will also taste better since it’s fresher.
You can check out this handy seasonal produce guide to find out what produce is in season. This guide will tell you what fruits and vegetables are in season for each month of the year.
Another great way to save money on groceries is to shop at your local farmer’s market. Produce from a farmer’s market is typically cheaper than what you would find at the grocery store. Plus, you’ll be supporting local businesses!
Utilize Frozen Foods
Frozen foods are often overlooked, but they can be a great way to save money and time. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh ones and usually cost less.
Frozen fruits and vegetables can also last a lot longer than their fresh counterparts. This means that you won’t have to worry about them going bad before you have a chance to use them.
When shopping for frozen foods, try to buy them in bulk when they are on sale. This will help you save even more money in the long run. You can then store the frozen foods in your freezer until you’re ready to use them.
Make Use of Leftovers
Another great way to save money on groceries is to make use of leftovers. If you have cooked too much food, don’t throw it away! Instead, save it for later.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to six months. Then, when you’re ready to eat them, simply reheat and enjoy.
If you find that you often have leftovers that go bad before you have a chance to eat them, consider investing in some reusable storage containers. These containers will help extend the shelf life of your leftovers so that you can enjoy them later.
Shop at Discount Stores
Discount stores like Aldi and Lidl are great places to find affordable groceries. These stores typically sell items for a fraction of the price of what you would find at a traditional grocery store.
To get the most out of shopping at a discount store, be sure to bring your own bags and only buy what you need. This will help you avoid overspending and wasting food.
Use Store Sales to Plan Meals
A great way to save money on groceries is to plan your meals around store sales. This will help you get the most bang for your buck and ensure that you’re always eating fresh, delicious food.
To find out what’s on sale, simply take a look at your local grocery store’s circular or website. Then, plan your meals around the items that are being offered at a discount.
For example, if chicken breasts are on sale, you could make roasted chicken breasts with vegetables. If ground beef is on sale, you could make chili or hamburgers. And if sweet potatoes are on sale, you could make roasted sweet potatoes with garlic.
By taking advantage of store sales, you’ll be able to save money on groceries without sacrificing taste or nutrition.
Make Food With Lots of Spices
If you’re looking for a way to make your meals more flavorful without spending a lot of money, try using lots of spices. Spices can transform a simple dish into something truly special.
When shopping for spices, be sure to buy them in bulk. This will help you save money in the long run. You can then store the extras in your pantry so that you always have them on hand.
Some great spices to use in your cooking include cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Experiment with different combinations to find what you like best!
Use Dedicated Reusable Containers
If you want to be really budget-friendly with your meal prep, consider using dedicated reusable containers. These containers can be used over and over again, which means that you won’t have to keep buying new ones.
When choosing containers, be sure to get ones that are microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe. This will make your life much easier in the long run!
Dedicated meal prep containers come in all shapes and sizes. You can find them at most kitchen stores or online. For example, this 50-pack of meal prep containers from Amazon is under $30 and is dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe.
More Helpful Meal Prep Tools and Supplies
Labels and Freezer Bags: Make sure you have everything you need for freezing your prepped meals on hand. Be sure to place a label containing the meal’s name and the date it was cooked when storing food in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags.
Crockpot: This useful tool will be your best friend in the kitchen. When using a crockpot, you essentially prepare the food, put it in, and then forget about it. As a result, cooking can be done without using your hands.
In your crock pot, you can cook whole chickens that I then slice up and freeze for use in sandwiches, enchiladas, chicken salads, chicken soup, chicken stew, and many other dishes.
Instant Pot: This newer kitchen appliance is becoming more popular. It can be used as a crock pot but can also do so much more. You can cook rice, quinoa, and other grains in it. An Instant Pot can also be used for steaming vegetables.
Silicone Baking Mats: These are great for budget meal prep because they help you to make the most of your leftovers. When roasting chicken breasts, for example, use a silicone baking mat under the chicken to catch all of the juices.
Then, when the chicken is cooked, remove the silicone baking mat and transfer the juices to a container. Use these juices to make a delicious gravy or sauce.
Use The Same Ingredients for Multiple Recipes
If you’re really looking to save money on your grocery bill, try using the same ingredients for multiple recipes. This will help you stretch your dollar and ensure that you’re always getting value for your money.
For example, if you buy a chicken breast, you can use it in a variety of different recipes. For instance, you could make roasted chicken breasts one night and then use the leftovers to make chicken salad or soup the next day.
This same principle can be applied to other ingredients as well. For example, if you buy a bunch of carrots, you could use them in a stir-fry one night and then roast carrots the next.
Or, if you buy a head of lettuce, you could make a salad one night and then use the leftovers in a wrap the next day. The possibilities are endless! Just be sure to get creative and think outside the box.
Make Big Batches of Food at Once
Another great way to save money on groceries is to make big batches of food at once. This will help you save time and money in the long run, as you’ll only have to do the initial cooking once.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to cook a whole chicken in your slow cooker or Instant Pot. You can then shred the chicken and use it in a variety of different recipes throughout the week.
Another option is to make a big pot of soup or chili. This will last you for several meals and can be easily reheated throughout the week.
You could also make a batch of roasted vegetables. These can be added to salads, wraps, and grain bowls. Or, if you’re really feeling ambitious, you could make a big batch of homemade pizza dough and then use it to make individual pizzas throughout the week.
Keep Your Meals Simple
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to keep your meals simple. There’s no need to go overboard with complicated recipes or ingredients that you’ll never use again.
Instead, focus on using basic ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store. This will help you save money and time in the long run, as you won’t have to go out of your way to find specialty ingredients.
A good rule of thumb is to focus on using three or four main ingredients per recipe. This will ensure that your meals are flavorful and satisfying without being too complicated or expensive.
So, if you want to save money on groceries, try keeping your meals simple. You’ll be surprised at how delicious and satisfying they can be!
Utilize Beans and Grains
Beans and grains are a great way to add protein, fiber, and nutrients to your diet without breaking the bank. They’re also incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of different dishes.
For example, you could use black beans to make quesadillas, lentils to make soup, or rice to make stir-fries. You could also use them as a base for salads or grain bowls.
Not only are beans and grains a great way to save money on your groceries, but they’re also a great way to add variety to your meals. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to mix things up, try incorporating some into your meal prep routine!
Utilize Cost-Effective Convenience Foods in a Pinch
There’s no shame in taking a shortcut every now and then, especially if it means saving time and money. Several cost-effective convenience foods can be used to make quick and easy meals.
For example, you could use frozen vegetables to make stir-fries or pasta dishes. You could also use pre-made sauces or marinades to save time on meal prep. And, if you’re really in a pinch, you could always resort to good old-fashioned ramen noodles!
So, next time you’re feeling short on time or money, remember that many cost-effective convenience foods can help you get a delicious meal on the table in no time.
Get Your Family Involved
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to get your family involved in the meal planning and prep process. This way, you can divide the tasks and ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to eating healthy.
Delegating tasks like grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up will help you save time and money, but it’ll also help teach your kids about the importance of healthy eating!
For example, you could create a new nightly routine where your kids prepare their school lunches for the next day while you cook dinner.
Or, you could have them help you with meal prep on the weekends so that you have more time during the week. Either way, getting your family involved in the process is a great way to save money and teach your kids about healthy eating!
Easy Meal Prep Recipes
If you need some cheap meal prep ideas but are also short on time, this collection of easy meal prep ideas is perfect for you! These ideas will help make your meal planning a breeze, from breakfast to dinner and everything in between.
One of the best things about these recipes is that they can all be made ahead of time. So, these recipes have you covered whether you are looking to meal prep for the week or just want to make some food ahead of time for the next few days.
And, since they’re all easy to make, you won’t spend hours in the kitchen prepping and cooking. So, if you’re short on time but still want to eat healthily, these easy meal prep recipes are for you!
Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas
There are a few different ways to prepare breakfast ahead of time. One option is to make a big batch of something on the weekend and then portion it out for the week. This could be anything from overnight oats to a frittata.
Another option is to make individual breakfast meals ahead of time. This could be anything from egg muffins to oatmeal cups. And, if you’re really short on time, you could always grab a breakfast bar or yogurt on your way out the door!
No matter what your breakfast routine looks like, there are a number of ways you can prep ahead to save time during the week.
Easy Meal Prep Ideas for Lunch
You can prepare lunch in many different ways in advance. One option is to make a big batch of something at the beginning of the week and then portion it out into individual containers. This could be anything from soup to quinoa salad.
Another option is to make individual lunch recipes ahead of time. This could be anything from roasted veggie wraps to black bean taquitos. And, if you’re really short on time, you could always grab a pre-made lunch from the grocery store or pack leftovers from dinner!
Meal Prep Ideas for Dinner
There are several ways you can prepare dinner ahead of time. One option is to make a big batch of something on the weekend and then portion it out for the week. This could be anything from chili to roasted chicken.
Another option is to make individual dinner recipes ahead of time. This could be anything from enchiladas to stuffed peppers. And, if you’re really short on time, you could always grab a pre-made dinner from the grocery store or order takeout!
Meal Prep Ideas for Snacks
You can also prep snacks beforehand to have on hand during the week. This could be anything from hard-boiled eggs to a fruit and veggie tray. And, if you’re really short on time, you could always grab a snack bar or some nuts!
Meal Prep Ideas for Kids Lunches
You can do a few different things if you’re looking for meal prep ideas for kid’s lunches. One option is to make a big batch of something on the weekend and then portion it out into individual containers. This could be anything from pasta salad to chicken nuggets.
Another option is to make individual lunch recipes ahead of time. This could be anything from mini pizzas to PB&J sandwiches. And, if you’re really short on time, you could always grab a pre-made lunch from the grocery store or pack leftovers from dinner!
More Healthy Meal Prep Ideas on a Budget
If you are looking for some different options for budget meal ideas, check out the following grocery list of nutritious foods that will fit within your food budget and will take very little prep time.
These budget-friendly meal prep ideas can be easily made into quick and delicious meals on a Sunday afternoon so that you are ready to tackle the busy week ahead.
- Sheet pan chicken thighs
- Overnight oats in mason jars
- Chicken fajita
- Burrito bowls
- Thai chicken salad
- Taco salad
- Loaded sweet potatoes
- Cauliflower fried rice
- Stir fry Beef and broccoli
- Roasted veggies
- Quinoa salad
- Fruit and veggie tray
- Hard-boiled eggs
So there you have it! These are just a few of the many different ways that you can save money on groceries. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious and healthy meals without breaking the bank.
Meal prepping is a great way to save money on groceries. By preparing your food in advance, you can cook large batches of food at once and then store them in the fridge or freezer for later. This will help you save time and money in the long run.
There are many different ways to meal prep on a budget. One great way is to cook simple recipes that use inexpensive ingredients. Another option is to make use of leftovers from previous meals. And, if you’re really short on time, you can always grab a pre-made meal from the grocery store!