For those of us living on a budget from week to week, including responsibly managing short term loans, school fees and the day to day cost of living, it can be difficult to stay creative and imaginative when looking at ways to stretch that budget further. There are several different aspects of the household budget that can be tweaked and changed over time to incorporate different tactics of making the most of your money, but one in which you can experience a drastic and immediate impact is with your meal preparation. Planning your meals on a weekly basis brings with it a range of benefits, both financial and physical. Here, we take a look at a few of those benefits, keeping your bank balance, mind and body healthy.
The first impact of meal planning is that you can save a lot of time. Preparing multiple meals in one go at the weekend might seem time consuming, but if you batch cook and freeze single portion meals, you’ll find that it can all be cooked and readied in a smooth process, with minimal heating required when it comes to meal time itself during the week. It cuts down a lot of time that you can use on other activities in the house, or to rest and recuperate after a day at work.
You’ll also find that as a result of meal planning and cooking in bulk, you are spending much less money than you would if you were buying goods for a different meal every single day. This is even more achievable during winter time when hearty dishes such as stews can be cooked in advance and make several portions. This type of cooking also lends itself to using the cheaper cuts of meat and the damaged fruit and vegetables that you might be able to purchase for a lower price than the average item.
Eating in this way also helps you and your family to eat healthily. You can keep a close eye on exactly what you eat, keep track of your nutrition and utilise it to meet your health and fitness goals, even if they are only small targets. Whether you are attempting to lose weight, or add strength and muscle to your body as part of a wider gym project, or boost your stamina, meal planning helps you to be specific with what you eat without having to go into too much work every single day to achieve your goals.
With food waste, there is also a real benefit to meal planning, as you are less likely to have off cuts of meat and vegetables, or have many leftover containers in the fridge once the main meal has been eaten. Cooking in batches helps you to be very precise in what you’ll be eating, with very little waste to throw away after it.
Meal planning every week certainly benefits a household in a number of ways, including for those living on a tight financial budget. It is a fantastic way to stay healthy, reduce food waste and provide more time to relax and spend quality time with the family.