Many people equate dieting as a rather expensive approach to food preparation. Instead of getting more access to food, diet tends to give you restrictions about what food or drink to buy. On the contrary, going on a diet does not need to be expensive. With the right meal planning, you’ll be surprised to see all the savings you can get from preparing your food.
To keep you on track of your diet, here are a few meal planning tips to start a budget-friendly diet.
Tip #1: Stock ingredients with long shelf-life
To prepare you for your meal-planning journey, stock ingredients with a long shelf-life, such as grains, beans, and spices. Buying in bulk can save you a lot of money, not only by getting product discounts but by saving you trips to the grocery.
You can also make your favorite salsas or sauces and store them in a mason jar to preserve them. This can last for a few weeks without spoiling, which is perfect for the hectic days. You can cook some pasta or beans and throw in your preserved sauces to get a quick meal.
Tip #2: Make a list of everything on your pantry
Keeping a list of the items in your pantry will help you realize how many ingredients you still have left in your kitchen. You can use all the ingredients just sitting around your pantry without you noticing.
Treat it also as a challenge to come up with a recipe using the remaining items in your pantry. You can get creative with healthy dish recipes that are loaded with fiber and protein.
By keeping track of all the available ingredients, you won’t have to buy two or three of the same items. You can plan your shopping trip to avoid purchasing unnecessary items. Having a list of what you need will also prevent you from grabbing unhealthy chips or sodas from the grocery.
Tip #3: Think of leftovers as lifesavers
Leftovers can save so much of your time during mornings before work. It also gives you more time to relax after a long day, instead of having to make a mess out of the kitchen.
In your meal planning program, make sure to include meals that you can cook in big batches. You can cook a pot that you can sperate into tiny containers and freeze or refrigerate. That way, you can heat them quickly whenever you need to fix a meal. You can also bring them over to the office or send them as lunches for your kids at school.
Tip #4: Control your portion
A great advantage of meal planning is that it can help you discipline yourself with portion control. Storing food in containers ahead of time means you can estimate the right portions for your meals. Having enough food stored in your kitchen will keep you from dialing on the phone for the pizza guy. You also won’t be tempted to go out every time you feel hungry but are too lazy to cook. Keep in mind that food portions served in restaurants are twice or even thrice as much as the recommended dietary amount.
You don’t have to spend a lot to keep up with your diet. With proper meal planning, you can save both time and money while achieving your personal fitness goals at the same time.
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