If you’ve previously been used to eating cheap microwave food or late night £2 meal deal from the local chicken shop, the the price of meal prepping can begin to add up. Note that this is not because it is expensive to meal prep but because good food does not come cheap, after all you get what you pay for. However, you don’t necessarily have to have a lot of money so as to eat healthy. Below are some tips that can help you meal prep even on a small budget. Let us know if we missed anything in the comments.
Plan, plan, plan
If you want to eat healthy on a shoestring budget, the first thing that you need to do is to plan. At first, meal prep may appear as a big complicated mess. However, once you have a routine, you will find that it’s an easy task which also saves you a great amount of time and money.
To start off, we recommend that you create a meal calendar. This will enable you plan your meals for the week ahead prior to going shopping. Planning your meal beforehand not only enables you to eat healthier but also saves money and time while at the grocery shop. There are various meal planning apps such as Paprika and Pepper Plate that will help you keep recipes organised, create a shopping list, plan your weekly meals and even eat lots of healthier, homemade foods. Alternatively just write everything down and take it with you when you go shopping.
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is another way to save on your meal prepping. Not only does it save you money but also time of going to the grocery store time and again. You just have to portion it out and then freeze some for later use. You can separate the servings into plastic bags and put the leftovers in the freezer for use in the upcoming week. Another advantage of creating portions in advance is that it makes the meal management plan to be much more effective.
I used to buy my meat from supermarkets but this cost far more when compared to bulk purchases from wholesalers such as Makro, Costco or Muscle Foods. The first two are members only wholesalers but the third option delivers direct to your home. For those in the London area I would strongly recommend a visit to Smithfields Market in the City of London but be ready to for an early rise. The meat market opens at midnight and closes early hours of the morning as this is where many restaurants and smaller retailers source their meat.
Check your pantry first
Once you’ve come up with your plan for the week, make sure to take stock of what items you already have in your pantry. Using ingredients that you’ve already purchased helps prevent food spoilage and keeps you from overbuying. You can also tailor your week’s menu to use up what you already have.
Try Generic brands
Make sure that you compare prices between generic (store brand) items and name brand products. In most cases, generic items are just as good as their brand name counterparts but at a fraction of the price of brand names. Before you make a decision, take a look at the nutritional info of both products, sometimes the brand is worth the extra few penny’s.
Buy seasonal food items
One of the simplest ways of saving money with your meal prepping is buying produce that’s in season. Produce that is not naturally in season is available because it has been imported from somewhere it is in season. Importing from far away costs the store more and so they must charge more per item. Such produces are cheaper when in season since they don’t have to be transported from other parts of the globe.
We also recommend using your more perishable items first and leaving longer lasting items towards the end of the week. This allows you to use the freshest ingredients in their prime and get the maximum benefit from them.