Just because you have a small budget doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in healthy eating. All it takes is a little meal planning and smart food choices. This winning combination will help you prepare nutritious meals for your family without straining your wallet.With menu planning, you’ll spend less time wondering what to eat when dinnertime comes. You won’t go back and forth to the nearby grocery buying the things you don’t need and you can provide your family with a variety of foods that meet their nutritional needs. This reduces the need for impulse buying and saves you time and money.
“By investing a little time upfront, you can avoid these time- and money-wasting pitfalls – and avoid dinnertime panic. With menu planning you know what to buy, which makes your grocery shopping more efficient and reduces the need for unplanned trips to buy one or two items. And with a grocery list in hand – a byproduct of good menu planning – it’s easier to resist overspending on food you won’t use or don’t need,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
To get the ball rolling, start by asking family members what they like to eat. You can ask them to share their favorite recipes or go online and do this yourself. By telling you their favorite meals, you can quickly design a daily meal plan that will make everybody happy.
Don’t forget to include healthy portions of all food groups when planning meals. Remember that variety is the spice of life and good nutrition comes from eating right – meaning different kinds of foods.
You may fancy eating cheeseburgers and fries. That’s okay if you do it once in a while. Or you can do the trip to Jollibee or Mcdo during weekends as a family bonding. Don’t do it every day, that isn’t healthy anymore even if it’s one of your favorite meals. To make eating healthy, make sure that fruits or vegetables cover half of your plate while lean meat and whole grains should each take a quarter of the plate.
“Meat needn’t be the main event every night. Try one or two meatless dinners a week. Build the meal around vegetables, beans and grains – they’re cheaper, lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat is. Stock up on legumes and whole-grain staples, such as beans, lentils, brown rice, bulgur and whole-wheat pastas. Use them to make filling soups, stews and casseroles,” the Mayo Clinic said.
Before shopping for food, make a list of the things you need. Examine your pantry carefully to get only what’s necessary. Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. If there’s a food sale, take advantage of it. Use coupons if possible and join discount clubs for more savings. With a little meal planning, your family will be healthy and happy