Why You Should Meal Plan

Should I (You) Meal Plan? Why I think Meal Planning is worth your time! + Why You Should shop with a Grocery List

  1. SAVE MONEY
    1. Meal planning helps to save money on groceries because when you plan, you can incorporate weekly sales, coupons, and retailer deals.
    2. Meal planning helps to maintain your grocery budget because when planning, you can determine which ingredients fit into your budget. Some ingredients may be too expensive, but if you plan, you can easily purchase substitutions.
    3. Having a meal plan keeps you away from fast food. Eating out often adds up quickly – in dollars and pounds.
  2. SAVE TIME
    1. Meal planning helps to save time on meal prep day because you will already have an idea of the necessary preparation and won’t need to waste time looking for recipes. You also won’t have to leave your home to get missing ingredients since you would have shopped with an accompanying grocery list.
    2. Meal planning and shopping with a grocery list helps to save time in the grocery store because not walking down every single aisle streamlines your shopping.
    3. Meal planning helps to save time because you can comparison shop in advance. You may want to choose the best flour, whether it be the generic or name brand, organic or conventional.
  3. SAVE ENERGY
    1. Mental energy: When you plan your meals, you don’t have to rack your brain contemplating what you’re going to eat or serve for dinner because it has already been laid out for you – the ingredients and the instructions.

Meal prepping makes things even easier! If you have a very strategic plan, you can know which veggies to chop, what quantity of each ingredient you’ll need, and instructions to prepare your meal. Depending on how you meal prep, your meals could be ready and waiting for you, perfectly portioned out, ready to heat and serve.

  1. Physical energy: If you’ve planned a hearty crock pot meal to enjoy after a long day, the hardest physical activity you have to do is remove a lid and lift a utensil; Or, if you’ve prepped your food for the refrigerator or freezer, when it comes time to eat, you can simply pull your meal out, heat, and eat!
  1. ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN
    1. For planners and people who like to know what’s coming next, having a meal plan allows you to do just that. You can plan very specifically or even vaguely depending on your needs, but if you have a plan you will always know which meal is coming next and how it will be prepared.
    2. You’ll always have something to look forward to. For some people, having a meal plan can help them to eat better or less/more depending on their needs. When you have a delicious meal planned for dinner, you look forward to eating it throughout the day. If you’re an overeater, meal planning may help to regulate your eating because naturally, you’ll want to have the capacity to eat the meal you worked hard to prepare. If you tend to not eat enough throughout the day, having a meal plan can help to remind you to have a meal.

 

  1. MEAL PLANNING HELPS TO REGULATE DIET – A balanced diet helps to maintain weight and overall health.
    1. Typically, when people meal plan, they tend to include healthy dishes that incorporate colorful and nutritious fruits and vegetables.
    2. For some, having a meal plan can help them eat better while eating less or possibly even more depending on their goals. When you have a delicious meal planned for dinner, you look forward to it all day and as a result tend not to overeat so you can enjoy it when the time comes. On the other hand, if you don’t eat enough throughout the day, having a meal plan can remind you to eat.

 

  1. SHORTEN COOKING TIMES
    1. When you start planning your meals, meal prep becomes much easier and may even start to come as second nature to you.

Meal prep helps to shorten meal preparation times and cooking times. When you meal prep, you can chop your veggies, make your broth ahead of time, and wash and spin your lettuce for a salad you plan on making the next day.

  1. ENJOY COOKING MORE
    1. Finally, meal planning and meal prepping can help you to enjoy cooking more, especially if you are a beginner cook. Meal planning/prepping will help because when things are planned and prepared for, they tend to go more smoothly. When something goes smoothly, we start doing it more often and that particular activity becomes easier. When something becomes easier, we tend to do it more often and when we do things more often we start oftentimes start enjoying it!

Start meal planning, meal/food prepping, and grocery shopping with a list; I promise, you won’t regret it!

Use our Life Happens Notebook to get you started and stick with meal planning TODAY! Purchase it here.

This entry was posted in Cooking.

How To Meal Plan for Weight Loss

How to Meal Plan for Weight Loss + 3 KEY Weight Loss Tips + 5 Foods to Avoid on you Weight Loss Journey

How to Meal Plan Basics

  1. Choose a day for meal planning, meal prep, and grocery shopping
  2. Determine what meals you will eat
    1. Aim for fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Avoid processed foods if possible
  3. Shop for ingredients
    1. Be sure to use your list and stick to it. Don’t buy anything that is not on your list.
  4. Prepare your meals and Store them.
    1. Prepared meals correctly stored can be frozen and will keep for months.

How to Meal Plan for Weight Loss

Before doing anything, consult with your healthcare provider and determine what route will be most effective for you. You know yourself better than anyone else, so based on your past experiences, your goals, and circumstances, choose a path that you can commit to.

  1. Determine how you will be losing weight and plan your meals around that method. Will you be counting calories and/or carbs, weighing your food, participating in a certain diet or lifestyle (Atkins diet, paleo, vegan lifestyle, etc.)?

 

  1. Plan to eat things you enjoy and incorporate them into your weekly meal plan.
    1. Eat a balanced diet – Get enough nutrients (plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables) to keep you healthy and full of energy.
    2. If you’re a snacker – plan to snack! Incorporate healthy snacks like raw fruits and vegetables into your meal plan.
    3. Plan for treats or cheats: Giving something up cold turkey doesn’t always work and makes your transition to health that much more difficult. Give yourself a break and (in moderation) plan for cheat meals or special treats.

 

Not making a weekly meal plan yet? Watch this video, then click this link to learn how YOU can make a weekly meal plan and stick with it.

 

  1. Meal prep so you can have food readily available in the portions needed – pre-weighed and measured with calories counted and nutrition facts secured. This will help you stick to your goals. Just grab and go!

 

  1. Plan to drink a lot of water. Have bottles of water with you everywhere you go to act as a reminder for you to drink throughout the day.
    1. Water aids in weight loss – it contributes to that full feeling, helps to banish cravings, and keeps your body hydrated so you can maintain optimal health.

 

  1. Once you’ve created your meal plan and have started eating, be sure to track your intake in a convenient way.
  2. Write everything down (condiments, drinks, even gum and candy)
  3. Try using a fitness app. I’ve used MyFitnessPal in the past and it works well for tracking a variety of health-related things conveniently.

Weight Loss Tips

  1. Mentally Prepare to endure hard times. Prepare yourself to do things you never thought you could physically do. Prepare to continuously motivate yourself because there will come a time when you want to give up or give in.
  2. Eat Healthy Meals and Exercise. Eating healthy and exercising helps to keep your skin elastic and aids in how your body looks and feels as you drop the pounds.
  3. Weight loss is mainly about a deficit in one form or another. To lose weight, you must stick to your meal plan and remember your goals. The secret to weight loss is decreasing your caloric intake. Eating healthy foods and exercising are beneficial to the body; but, to lose weight, consuming less calories is key – hence why tracking calories is very important.

 

5 Foods to Avoid on Your Weight Loss Journey

  1. Processed Sugary Cereals – Processed cereals are very high in sugar and low in nutritional value. As an alternative try having muesli or fruit and nut granola with your favorite non-dairy milk.
  2. Processed Juice – Processed juice is very high in calories and for the most part, does not contribute much to a balanced diet. Freshly made juice, in moderation, is a good alternative.
  3. Milk Chocolate – Milk chocolate can be very addicting. As an alternative, try dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is higher in nutritional value than milk chocolate and is not as addictive because of its bitterness.
  4. Soda – Exclude Soda from your diet completely until you reach your goal weight because it is high in calories and does not contribute positively to your overall health.
  5. Candy – Candies are empty calories that most can live without.

 

How to Vegan Meal Plan

How to Vegan Meal Plan – How to Create a Meal Plan for Vegans + FREE DOWNLOAD!

Let’s Get Ready to Meal Plan – Vegan Style!

This post includes a one week vegan meal plan that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options AND a 100% VEGAN Grocery Shopping List.

How to Meal Plan Basics

  1. Choose a day for meal planning, meal prep, and grocery shopping.
  2. Determine what meals you will eat.
    1. Aim for fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Avoid processed foods if possible.
  3. Shop for ingredients
    1. Be sure to use your list and stick to it. Don’t buy anything that is not on your list.
  4. Prepare your meals and Store them.
    1. Prepared meals correctly stored can be frozen and will keep for months.

 

When Creating a Vegan Meal Plan keep These 5 Things in Mind!

  1. Plan to cook a lot of meals at home to ensure you’re eating the highest quality food and that your food is 100% vegan.
  2. Plan to have a lot of raw, fresh fruits and vegetables available that are washed and ready to eat. You will be cooking a lot, so during your down time it’s good to have grab and go food that requires little work to eat. Things like bananas, grapes, and apples are perfect because they can be eaten as they are.

 

Like what you’re seeing? I hope you’re learning! If so, I’ve got more to share with you on Instagram – Follow me there! Don’t have Instagram? Subscribe to me (Keeping Home) on YouTube! It’s easy and Free, click this link.

 

  1. Meal prep and food prep is very important when on a plant based diet because it helps you to stay on track and helps to shorten cooking times.
  2. When creating your weekly or monthly vegan meal plan, always try to incorporate your favorites or mocks of your favorites like vegan bacon or chick’un to keep your meals interesting and fun.
  3. Finally, when creating your vegan meal plan think about your motive for being vegan. Why do you choose to partake in a plant based diet and why are you a vegan? Your WHY will help you to continue eating healthy, meat free, animal product free meals.

 

 

 

One Week Vegan Meal Plan

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Day 1 Fruit Smoothie and Avocado Toast Quinoa Bowl: Quinoa, Sautéed Spinach, Sautéed Green and Yellow Zucchini, and Red Onion topped with refreshing Cucumber and Carrot shreds. Optional: Drizzle with Garlic Style Coconut Aminos. Hearty Vegetable Soup
Day 2 Hot Maple Syrup Oatmeal with Walnuts and dried Fruits + a cup of Hot Tea Filling Green Salad: Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula, Carrots, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, and Tofu topped with your favorite Vegan Dressing. Vegan Chili and Cornbread with a side of Fresh Green Beans.
Day 3 Chia Pudding infused with Blackberries and Blueberries + a drink of Coconut water. Chickpea (Mock Tuna) Sandwich layered with Tomatoes, Romaine Lettuce, Red Onions, and Pickles + a side of homemade potato wedges. Vegetable Stir fry served over Brown Rice.
Day 4 Overnight Oats with

Vegan Buttered Toast and Berries.

Rice Bowl: Brown Rice, Pinto Beans, Lettuce, Fajitas, Vegan Cheese, and Guacamole. Raw Zucchini Noodles covered in Avocado Dressing.
Day 5 Avocado Toast topped with Tomato and Cucumber Slices

+

Fresh Green Juice.

 

Super Filling Green Salad + leftover Vegan Chili Baked Vegan Mac and Cheese + Steamed Broccoli and Fried Sweet Plantains.
Day 6 Granola Cereal in Nondairy milk served with Freshy made Juice. Veggie Burger with all the fixings + Homemade Potato Wedges Coconut Curried Potatoes and Brown Rice + Sweet Peas and Carrots.
Day 7 Banana pancakes, Berries, and Hot Tea. Meatless Pasta with Tomato Sauce, and homemade Vegan Garlic Bread. Sautéed Asian Style Zucchini Noodles with Sesame Oil, Snap Peas, Carrots, and Corn.

 

 

Dessert Ideas

  1. Homemade Banana Nice Cream
  2. Chocolate Banana nice cream with nuts, peanut butter, hazelnut spread, or almond butter *
  3. Vegan chocolate cake**
  4. Vegan sugar cookies***
  5. Vegan cheesecake topped with Peaches or your favorite fruit****
  6. A bowl of cold fresh fruit topped with coconut whipped topping*****

 

*Banana Nice Cream is easy to make in a food processor. Add frozen bananas, non-dairy milk and your favorite add-ins (mentioned above) to a food processor and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. Feel free to look for more detailed recipes online that include measurements.

** You can find vegan chocolate cake and many other vegan desserts at specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods.

*** Most non-vegan recipes can be made vegan by making simple substitutions with flax or chia eggs, applesauce, or even by adding more oil. There are a ton of recipes online for vegan, gluten free, and even oil free desserts – Experiment and find a few recipes you enjoy.

**** Daiya makes a very delicious vegan cheesecake that also comes in a chocolate flavor. This cheesecake can be found at Whole Foods.

***** Coconut Whipped Topping is like whipped cream but has a coconut flavor. Coconut Whipped Topping can be found at Whole Foods. If you don’t like Coconut but miss whipped cream, Whole Foods also sells a Rice based Whipped Topping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Week Vegan Grocery Shopping List

PRODUCE
Tomatoes Avocado
Green and Red Peppers Bananas
Broccoli Blackberries
Cucumbers Blueberries
Zucchini(s): Green and Yellow Apples
Lettuce Carrots
Spinach Plantains
Arugula Potatoes
Kale Green Beans
Snap Peas Red Onion
DRIED/BAGGED/CANNED
Brown Rice Vegan Pancake Mix
Quinoa Maple Syrup
Oats Dried fruit
Pinto Beans Chia Seeds
Kidney Beans
Can of Chickpeas Walnuts
Tomato sauce Tea bags
REFRIDGERATED
Vegan Mayo Nondairy Milk
Vegan Butter Tofu
Vegan Cheese Vegan Dressing
FROZEN
Frozen Fruit variety bag for smoothies Sweet Peas
Veggie Burgers (Your favorite brand or homemade) Corn
Vegan Cheesecake
SEASONINGS/OIL/DRESSINGS
Curry Powder Garlic Style Coconut Aminos
Garlic Powder Sesame Oil
MISCELLANEOUS
Bread Vegetable Broth
Vegan Hamburger Rolls Coconut Water
Cornbread Mix Macaroni Elbows
Granola Cereal Peanut or Almond Butter or Hazelnut Spread
Coconut or Rice Whipped Topping Vegan Coco Powder or Chocolate Chips

 

 

 

How To Meal Plan for the Month

How to Meal Plan for the Month. How to Meal Plan for a Family + FREE Monthly Family Meal Plan easily modified with Vegetarian Options.

Meal Planning can be time consuming and although you want to plan your meals every week you may not have the time to do so. I have a solution for you: MONTHLY Meal planning! I’ll share with you what I know about meal planning for the month, meal planning for your family, and give you a FREE one month meal plan that is easily adaptable for vegetarians and includes Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner ideas.

Here we go!

How to Meal Plan for a Family – Your All-inclusive Guide to always having delicious and healthy meals ready for your family. Never say, “what are we having for dinner” again!

First things first; get everyone involved and aim to incorporate everyone’s favorite meals. Ask each member of the family what their favorite meal is and what meals they’d like to have that month. They can share their favorite breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even snacks; this way you’ll have a lot of meal ideas to keep in rotation. If you’re not able to physically get to everyone in the family, try creating a group text that is just for meal planning purposes. You can get feedback from family members about the dinner you prepared that night and even announce what you’ll be making for the remainder of the week. Keep your family’s favorites in consideration as you create your meals so that everyone’s tastes and desires are met.

Find and compile the recipes you plan to cook in a folder (electronically or printed) and add them to your recipe binder. Be sure to keep all the recipes for that month together – that way, when it comes time to prepare your food, you’ll know exactly what you need and how to prepare each meal.

Take inventory of what ingredients you have so you can plan to use them up (if needed) within the month. As you plan, consider how much of each ingredient you will need to purchase for the meals in the month.

EXTRA STEP FOR SUPER PLANNERS! Plan your breakfasts, lunches, and snacks too.

If you’d like, you can incorporate time for eating out, birthday dinner requests, special events, holidays, and occasional treats the family loves!

Keep your circumstances in consideration. Don’t let your diet go ‘out the window.’ Plan healthy meals around your specific nutritional needs, health, and fitness goals.

REMEMBER! It’s important to give yourself variety so you don’t get bored!

When monthly grocery shopping, feel free to buy fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; but, do eat the fresh foods first, then move on to your frozen fruits/veggies. Also, plan to use the fresh ingredients for the meals earlier in the month and the frozen ingredients for the meals later in the month.

Stock up on nonperishable items (rice, dried or canned beans [BPA free cans], flour and spices) when they are on sale so in your month of no shopping you will have everything you need, plus more.

Keep meals with the same fresh ingredients grouped in the same week so that fresh ingredients can be used before they go bad. For example, fresh herbs may need to be used up within the first week after purchase, so plan to prepare the herbed dishes in the first week of the month.

Use multipurpose ingredients for convenience and to saving money. For example, you could buy a bag of dried black beans, use them for rice and beans and then make black bean burgers the next day with the leftovers. Multipurpose ingredients help to stretch your grocery budget.

Make freezer meals and Easy Meals. Themed nights help to keep dinner time fun and easy. Friday family Pizza night, Taco Tuesday, and Meatless Monday are great dinner themes that most families can enjoy.

Finally, commit to your plans! It’s of no use to create a plan and not stick with it. Create your monthly meal plan and grocery list and make a strong effort to commit to the plans you created.

 

Don’t know where to start with Monthly Meal Planning? Click here to get a sample Monthly Family Meal Plan that can be easily adapted to fit a Vegetarian Diet.

Want to learn more about meal planning, becoming more organized, and “Keeping Home?” Please Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more advice and tips!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast Ideas Lunch Dinner
Week 1  

Fruit Infused Overnight Oats

Omelets with hash browns

Chia Pudding

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Oatmeal

 

 

PB & J Sandwiches

Bean Soup and Salad

Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Garlic Bread

 

 

Chili and Baked Potatoes

Lasagna with Salad

Yellow Rice, Black Beans, and Plantains

Week 2  

Nut Butter Infused Overnight Oats

Egg and Cheese Sandwiches; Fresh Fruit

Chia Pudding infused with coconut shreds

Maple Syrup Oatmeal

 

 

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Quinoa Salad

Falafel Wrap

Vegan or Chicken Quesadillas

 

 

Fettucine Alfredo with Broccoli

Baked Sweet Potato and Chicken or Mock Chicken Breast and Spinach

Week 3  

Pancakes with Tofu Scramble

Breakfast Potatoes and Avocado Slices

Cinnamon and Apple Oatmeal

Breakfast Burritos

 

 

Filling Veggie Sandwich

Bean and Cheese Burrito

Tuna or Mock Tuna (Chickpea) Sandwich

Vegetable Stir Fry

 

 

Baked Ziti and Caesar Salad.

Rice and Beans, Steamed Vegetables, Baked Chicken or Meat substitute.

 

 

 

Week 4  

Baked Oatmeal

Fruit Smoothie & Avocado Toast

 

 

Minestrone and Fresh Baked Bread

Veggie Burger

Seasoned Rice

Raw Fruit and Vegetables with Spread/Dip

 

 

 

Baked Mac and Cheese, Carrots, and Sweet Peas.

Salmon, Asparagus, and Avocado Slices.

Roasted Potatoes, Homemade Burgers (can be veggie), Glazed Carrots.

Asian Chow or Lo Mein

 

How TO Create a Master Grocery List

How to Create a Master Grocery List. How to Grocery Shop Efficiently and Effectively – In and Out of the store in NO TIME!

 

Why you should create a Master Grocery List:

Having a master grocery list takes the guess work out of grocery shopping and allows you to always know what items and ingredients you have on hand.

Before you make your master grocery shopping list, be sure to read this post (LINK) to learn how to meal plan.

How to Create a Master Grocery List

First, have a complete “mental dump” moment. Think about grocery items you consistently purchase and write each item/ingredient down.

Next, go through your food storage and pantry areas and add staple ingredients and items to your list.

Then, go through your refrigerator and write down any items you may have missed in your initial “mental dump” of consistently purchased items.

After you’ve written down all of your family’s staple grocery items, group them into categories. Some examples are: Fresh Produce (fruit and vegetables), Meat(s), Dairy/Eggs, Grains, and Miscellaneous.

TIPs for your Master Grocery List:

  • Print a few copies of your list so you always have them available for shopping trips.
  • Keep your lists in a place that everyone in your family can see so they can edit it as needed.
  • It would be great to have an electronic version of your list so you can edit and share it with other family members!

How to Grocery Shop Efficiently and Effectively to get you In and Out of the Grocery Store in No Time

For those that don’t want to create a personalized master grocery list, here’s a link to where you can get a free “Ulitmatest” Master Grocery list, complimentary of grocerylists.com.

Here’s how you can effectively and efficiently grocery shop:

  1. Get the layout of each of your favorite grocery stores. You may be able to find the layout/map for each store on their site or in person at the customer service desk.
  2. Create a master grocery shopping list for each of your main grocery stores. Each grocery store has a different layout, so creating a master grocery list for each location will be helpful in getting you in and out of each of those layouts quickly.
  3. Create your grocery list so that you are picking up things in an order suitable for you whether it be from the left to the right side of the store, from the front to the back of the store or more beneficially creating a path that allows you to get frozen and cold items last.

Writing a grocery list by aisle location will help you to:

  • Save money and time by skipping aisles that don’t have items you’re looking for.
  • Help your health by avoiding unhealthy rows.
  • Become a pro-shopper in case you want to become a personal grocery shopper for Instacart or Shipt!

Hopefully these tips will help you to get in and out of your grocery store quickly – getting everything you need and forgetting nothing. If you have additional tips please share them in the comment section below as I’d love to learn more efficient ways to improve my grocery shopping

How to Meal Plan 101

How to Meal Plan: Beginners Guide to Meal Planning

How to Meal Plan 101: The Basics for Beginners

Meal Plan for the Week

 

Before You Start Meal Planning or Create your Meal Plan, here’s what you’ll need:

Something to take notes with: a pen and paper or a note taking app on a device.

How Long you should Plan: No more than 45 minutes. Set a timer. Research first, then plan. Try not to go over 45 minutes, otherwise you might get frustrated. Don’t overthink your meals, use the tips below to help you keep it simple and trust your instincts!

Choose a day for grocery shopping, a day for meal planning, and a day for prep.

Everything could be done on the same day, you could meal plan/grocery shop on one day and prep the next or you could meal plan one day and grocery shop and prep on the next day. It’s up to you, there is no perfect combination. Try a few different day/task combinations and settle on one that fits your current lifestyle.

Feel free to plan to Eat out on certain days or have themed nights like Taco Night or Homemade Pizza night. Theme nights can be done weekly and makes meal planning and grocery shopping so much easier!

Meal planning can be kept simple and is what you make it. Your meals don’t have to be super fancy, gourmet, or restaurant quality unless you want it to be. For your family, you can meal plan a simple tossed salad, warm baked bread, and soup if you want or even switch things up and have breakfast for dinner – it’s completely up to you!

 

 

Choose Your Meals

Things to take into consideration:

  • If you’re trying to lose, gain, or maintain your weight
  • Special diets
  • Your schedule (What events do you have coming up? Will you need to have leftovers for the next day? Planning on working late and won’t be home early enough to cook for the family?)

Take your circumstances into consideration as you plan; remember, some recipes are more forgiving as leftovers than others. Some foods dry out or just don’t taste very good re-heated.

Start off with things you already know how to make and that your family enjoys. Add new recipes in slowly so if you do have a “failed” meal – it won’t be too frequently to cause discouragement and stop your meal planning streak.

TIP

If you have never cooked or just don’t believe you’re good at it, take the time to learn some family favorite recipes. Before you begin, remember to follow recipes exactly and have a plan B in case your meal doesn’t turn out as planned. An actionable step for now (until you learn your family’s favorites) is to start preparing regular/consistent meals for your family with semi-healthy and affordable pre-made items like rotisserie chickens (they sell an organic naked rotisserie chicken at whole foods), Frozen Organic Cooked Rice from Whole Foods with ingredients of just water and rice, and frozen vegetables that you can easily steam. Consider serving a family sized salad (with all the toppings of course: dried fruit, nuts, etc.) with warm baked bread and your favorite lemonade or tea, that’s filling and super easy!

Shop for Ingredients

Make a grocery list. As you go through each meal you’d like to make, write down the ingredients you’ll need for each meal and try to keep them in categories so that as you shop you can be as efficient as possible. Aside from keeping the ingredients sorted by aisle you can also document where in the grocery store the item is located. Writing a grocery list by aisle will help you to:

  • Save time by skipping aisles that don’t have items you’re looking for
  • Save money by helping you avoid unnecessary items
  • Help your health avoiding unhealthy items sections
  • Become a pro-shopper in case you want to pick up some extra cash and become a personal grocery shopper for Instacart or Shipt!

Download this grocery shopping template to help you keep your list organized! Or better yet, get your LIFE HAPPENS notebook to use as your daily planner and meal planner. Link to how to make a grocery list article.

Shop. Know where items are in the grocery store.  Stick to your budget and choose a grocery store location that you feel comfortable in and that isn’t too far from home if you’re getting frozen or cold items. LINK TO HOW TO MAKE A GROCERY SHOPPING BUDGET ARTICLE

 

Prepare the Ingredients or Prepare the Meal.

Prep the food: you can prep all your vegetables by washing and cutting them how you like or as needed for the recipe. This would also be the perfect time to wash your fruits so they can be readily available for a quick and healthy snack. If you’d like, you can prepare (cook/bake) your meals, measure the quantity needed for one meal, and store them by refrigerating or freezing and re-heating as needed.

TIPS

  1. If you don’t like being in the kitchen, don’t plan to spend too much time in there – don’t choose to make elaborate recipes just yet! Start out with some slow cooker recipes, where you can just “set it and forget it” or maybe pick up some pre-packaged items to help your cooking process progress more quickly; things like pre-chopped vegetables can be a lifesaver when you don’t have a lot of time.
  2. Try to get everyone involved. If you have a partner or a family, try to get their input so that everyone’s tastes and favorite dishes are kept in consideration as you plan. This will help especially if you can’t find meals that everyone will like.
  3. Make foods you enjoy – as you get in the habit of making your meals on a more consistent basis you’ll want to enjoy the food you eat at home to keep the “eating at home” or “eating healthy” momentum going. If your favorites are not very healthy, have them in moderation, but do make them and if possible, keep them in your meal plan rotation.
  4. BONUS TIP: Meal Planning and Prepping really is worth your time and effort. Meal planning helps you to save money, time, and energy and Meal prepping food will make your cooking time shorter. Read here on why I think Meal planning is worth your time and effort. LINK TO THAT ARTICLE.

 

 

How to Meal Plan on a budget

HOW to meal plan on a budget: Keys to saving money on groceries

How to Meal Plan Basics

  1. Choose a day for meal planning, meal prep, and grocery shopping
  2. Determine what meals you will eat
    1. Aim for fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Avoid processed foods if possible
  3. Shop for ingredients
    1. Be sure to use your list and stick to it. Don’t buy anything that is not on your list.
  4. Prepare your meals and Store them.
    1. Prepared meals correctly stored can be frozen and will keep for months.

How to Save money on Groceries

  1. Determine a budget and stay within or beneath it. Once you determine how much you can spend on groceries, never allow yourself to go over that number. If you happen to go over by a few dollars every now and again, that’s OK – but don’t make it commonplace. If you haven’t created your grocery shopping budget just yet: Learn How to Create a Grocery Shopping Budget here (LINK TO POST)
    1. Ways to Stay on track with your budget
      1. Use coupons – many grocers have apps with exclusive deals and offers.
      2. Price Match – most grocers will charge you the competitors’ price on most items if you mention it and provide evidence that the competitor’s price is less expensive.
      3. Base your meals off the weekly sales ad, especially if there are good deals that you want to take advantage of.
    2. Try making it a challenge for yourself to keep your grocery bill a few dollars under your total budget – it could be fun!

 

  1. Decide to Eat healthier. Convenience and processed foods are oftentimes more expensive than fresh fruit and vegetables and are not necessary for maintaining a balanced diet.
    1. Eat less. Many of us tend to eat more calories than our bodies need. Eating less (in a healthy way and if necessary) can cut down our grocery bills and our weight.

You may be interested in: How to Meal Plan for Weight Loss (Link)

  1. Use a list. Be sure to create a meal plan and grocery list and stick to your list. Try to be disciplined and only buy the things that you went to the store for. Straying from your list could cause you to buy expensive specialty food items that you don’t need and possibly won’t even like. Learn how to Efficiently Create a Master Grocery List (LINK)
  2. Make dishes that use similar ingredients. For example, you could buy a bag of dried black beans, use them for rice and beans and then make black bean burgers the next day with the leftovers. Multipurpose ingredients help to stretch your grocery budget.
  3. Shop at discount grocery stores. You may have to save shopping at Whole Foods and The Fresh Market for special occasions and make your local cheap grocery store your go-to for food.

 

How to Make or Lower your Monthly Grocery Budget and Stick to it Once and For All!

How to Make your Monthly Grocery Budget

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How to Lower your Grocery Shopping Budget and How to Stick to your Monthly Grocery Shopping Budget

1. Start Thinking.

Determine How Much you are Currently Spending.

To determine how much you are currently spending on groceries, total up last month’s grocery receipts. If you don’t have the receipts from last month, commit to tracking how much you spend on groceries next month. You can track and monitor your grocery shopping habits by reviewing your bank or credit card statements or by using financial apps.

Determine How Much you Can Spend.

Now that you know how much you are currently spending on groceries, keep that number in consideration as you determine how much you can comfortably spend on groceries. Consider all your bills and necessities and find the maximum monetary value that you can allocate to groceries for the month.

Determine How Much you Want to Spend.

Once you have a monetary value that you can comfortably spend on groceries, determine how much you would like to spend on groceries. You may be able to comfortably spend $500 on groceries per month, but if you’re a single bachelorette that is rarely home, you may not want to spend very much money on groceries. Choose how much (within your budget) you want to spend on groceries each month.

 

2. How to Lower your Budget (if necessary).

Weigh all your options when considering how you can lower your budget. Some options to consider in lowering your grocery budget are:

+ Shopping at discount grocery stores – this means no specialty stores like Whole Foods or The Fresh Market. This may be difficult, but if you truly need to lower your monthly grocery bill, this is a MUST.

+ Buy the generic versions of your favorites when (if) they are cheaper than the name brand. Some people absolutely hate buying generic items because they feel it is inferior in quality to the name brand, but this isn’t always the case. Generic brand items can be very good quality and very affordable.

+ Eat the same things all the time. Make it a point to eat cheap foods that you can buy in bulk – like rice and beans.   + Choose to do without certain foods. Convenience foods like chips, cookies, and candies are expensive and not necessary to maintain a balanced diet.

How to Stick to your Grocery Shopping Budget

 

3. Use cash

If you’ve never heard of the envelope method or the envelope system, it’s a system that was made popular by financial guru Dave Ramsey. In a nutshell, when using the envelope system, you must place a certain amount of cash into an envelope labeled for a specific task, once the cash inside of that envelope has been used, you cannot spend any more money on that task.

How to Use the Envelope system for Groceries

First, you must withdraw the amount you plan to spend on groceries for that month. Don’t procrastinate – while in the bank, take an envelope and label it Grocery shopping, seal your envelope and only open it when you’re in the grocery store.

 

 

 TIP: Leave your credit cards at home – If you don’t have your credit cards with you then you won’t be able to use them

4. Bring a Calculator with You.

Use your calculator as you shop to keep you on target with your budget. For each item that you pick up, enter the amount into your calculator immediately. If you reach your limit before you have everything that you need, feel free to replace pricier items with their generic counterparts or omit items that aren’t necessary. Do whatever it takes to keep you within, and better yet, under your budget.

**Keep in mind: If you are using coupons you’ll need to subtract those amounts from your total as you shop.**

 

5. Finally, be Self-Disciplined and Strong.

While checking out, if you are approaching the limits of your budget, practice self-discipline and tell the clerk that unfortunately, you won’t be purchasing the rest of the items. If necessary, offer to put the items you are not purchasing away. This will take some discipline, and even courage, but you can do it. You can create a grocery budget and stick to it!

 

 

 

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