by Thais Harris, NC
Nutrition Education Manager, Ceres Community Project
Effective meal planning is both rewarding and cost-effective. It might seem daunting to take the time to think ahead but, once you get into the swing of things it's actually a great time saver. Follow these tips and you'll be amazed at how easy it is to cut costs without sacrificing nutrition.
Take time once a week to plan out 4 to 5 dinners
Stop clipping coupons for things you don't need or wouldn't normally buy.
These items are less expensive than fresh items when out of season. Buy dried/frozen/canned fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness. Another benefit is that they are easy to store. Be sure to buy these on sale.
Vegetarian options are often cheaper. Use half as much meat in your recipes, and add vegetable proteins like grains and legumes .
Grow what thrives, is hard to find or is expensive.
Buy in bulk or mini-bulk, especially pantry items that hold for long periods of time.
Use a water filter at home: filtered tap water is best.
Make sure to soak, defrost food items in the fridge, brew tea, the night before.
Buying in bulk shouldn't create waste. Make sure that you are mindful about portion sizes when you prepare meals.
If what keeps you from meal preparation is the fear and confusion about what to eat, and you think inspiration might come from knowing how different foods contribute to your wellbeing, sign up for one of our Healing Foods classes and/or watch our Healing Foods Basics film. You can also check out other nutrition articles for more information on eating a whole foods diet, understanding fats, and much more!