Did you know that meal preparation is one of the most important elements in sticking to your healthy eating habits? According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, spending more time preparing and cooking meals at home leads to staying on track with eating well.
Unfortunately, meal prepping involves grocery shopping, which can be a little scary for some. It's safe to say that shopping for food can be an intimidating task – especially those in college, or anyone else trying to balance a budget. Have no fear – frugal meal prepping is totally achievable! Here are a few easy tips for meal prepping on a budget.
1. Come up with a strategy
Health blog Six Pack Fitness said the first step to eating well on budget is to sketch out a plan. Meal prep can seem like an overwhelming idea, so it's important to have a strategy planned out in writing before you get started. Create a food calendar that gets your meals planned for the entire month and keep your spending money in mind. That way, when you're ready to go shopping, your budget has already been considered.
2. Buy in bulk
When you get to the grocery store, make sure you're buying in bulk. Doing this is a great way to save both time and money in the long-run. Consider joining a wholesale club for the best bulk deals.
3. Consider purchasing frozen vegetables
Health blog Strong Figure recommended buying frozen vegetables over fresh ones. They're the cheaper option, they'll last longer and they're just as healthy.
4. Invest in rice
Rice is a healthy and inexpensive grain that goes with virtually any meal you're prepping. Add it to your favorite vegetable or spruce it up on its own with some homemade seasonings.
5. Buy generic brands
If you're shopping on a budget, Six Pack Fitness suggested giving generic brands a shot. Most times, generic brands are just as good as brand name products. Additionally, they're usually a lot cheaper, which makes for excellent frugal meal prepping. Before buying the products, make sure to compare the nutritional information on the brand name and generic brand product so that you're not skimping out on nutrition.
6. Make your own trail mix
Store bought trail mix tends to be expensive, so why not make your own? Add an assortment of nuts, dried fruits and dark chocolate chips to a container. A simple handful of the trail mix will give you the burst of energy you need to get through the day and the small portion will make certain that the stuff lasts a while!
7. Invest in plastic storage
Don't waste your money on containers that you throw away after using. Invest in glass or plastic food containers for your meal prep! Kill two birds with one stone by making sure they're microwave-safe, that way you won't have to dirty any extra dishes during dinner.