Whether you have been meal planning for years or started last week, it can be exhausting. One of the first ways many of us will quit is when we have a busy week coming up. When the kids have soccer, baseball, etc., and you have extra work to catch up on, cooking at home goes out the window.
None of us like doing the budget at the end of summer, and we realize our busy schedules left us grabbing too many take-out options. Now we have time but are short on cash.
If you are busy this week, here are some tips to help your meal plan so you can still save money and your sanity.
Check out the TikTok video or scroll down to keep reading.
3 Proteins 4 Veggies 1 Starch
You will base your meals on this idea of using three proteins, four veggies, and one starch.
I start by looking at what I have FIRST. Then, you will not run out and impulse shop and end up wasting food on things you already have and will end up saving a ton of money.
I will check to see what proteins I have first. We raise our chickens, so that is always an option for us. If you don’t have any proteins, only buy proteins on sale that week at your local grocery store.
And for even MORE money savings price compare to see what store has the best deal.
Example: Chicken, Fish, Beef.
Pick veggies that are in season for the best price. Right now, it’s asparagus coming in for us, and my kids know that almost every night in May/June, we will be eating asparagus! There is nothing wrong with teaching your kids about money and the cost of our food at a young age.
When I tell the girls we got something on sale or know it came from our backyard, they are starting to appreciate that.
A starch for us is usually pasta or potatoes. But this ends up being the cheapest option.
Check out some of my previous meal menus for inspiration HERE.
Make SIMPLE recipes.
I do love that the Real plans meal planning app has straightforward recipes. But if you are starting the Betty Crocker recipe book, here is a great beginner book. Don’t overwhelm yourself. You don’t have to serve a five-course meal. Simple goes a long way and makes a hectic day glorious.
MEAL PREP SUNDAY
I used to hate meal prepping on Sunday or cooking all my meat first. I used to think the taste would be bland! But as the girls have grown and schedules get busier, it is lovely. I mean, what are kids thinking? Wow, this ground beef tastes like it has been sitting for a day or two?
Most of the time, the meat or dish tastes better after sitting when the flavors can blend even better. So if you mentally prepare on Sunday to chop up veggies and cook up meat ahead of time, it does cut back on time during the week.
I find ground beef and cooking chicken breasts ahead works excellent.
Grab the meal planner I use from Amazon here.
For a bit of humor, check out this video!
Cook ONCE EAT TWICE
The recipe books cook once eat twice is a game-changer when you are short on time. Whole chickens work great for this. One day cook the entire chicken and serve it aside, and the next day, shred the chicken and serve tacos, sandwiches, etc.
Get out your slow cooker or Ninja Foodi! I love the Foodi so much. But, even in the summer, I find it doesn’t heat up as much as the oven or our old slow cooker.
In the morning, before you head out, dump a bunch of ingredients in and set it and forget it. I love slow cooker meals when the kids can eat when they want, grab some shredded chicken or whatnot, and make a quick sandwich.