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Meal Prep to Save Time & Money

For a lot of us, meal prepping sounds like a daunting task. However, meal prepping can be a simple way to save yourself time and money throughout the week. One way you'll save money is by not going out to lunch or dinner when you're feeling too lazy to cook during the week. Rather than overwhelming yourself by planning out an extensive menu of different meals, you can use a handful of ingredients in creative ways to keep your taste buds happy throughout the week.

Here's how to get started with meal prepping:

 

  1. Start small - focus on prepping one meal per day, like lunch while working.
  2. Invest in storage containers - glass is better than plastic for longevity.
  3. Make a grocery list - once you know what you want to make, take inventory of what you have. Only buy what you need.
  4. Buy in bulk - especially products that have a long shelf life, like oatmeal and other grains.

 

For additional ways to save money, check out the latest 99 Great Ways to Save.

 

Do you meal prep? What works for you?

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I have meal prepped for yrs. Best way to save money. Most people complain about meat prices but honestly when you see a sale - like I recently got ground breast turkey (Jennie-o) for $1.50 per pack / is usually $5 pack!! 10 packs for $15. normally $50 !!!

I made some into burgers & froze raw, made a couple of baked meatloaf & sliced & froze & made cooked crumbles for tacos & froze. Date them & then meals for when prices are high.  

I am making canned pizza sauce with my summer tomatoes. I didn't have time to do them last month & had chopped & thrown in freezer. Thawed them out yesterday & will add to more garden toms & process today. Now I have pizza sauce, tomato sauce & many canned salsa for over the winter & into spring. 

 

Does this take time & energy, yes! But you can carve out time to do even buying the meat on sale & putting in the freezer as is.... AND you are never too old to learn.

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What a steal you got on that ground turkey @TEWKCW! It definitely pays to keep your eyes peeled for good sales...pun intended 😁 Your process of gradually making tomato sauce is great! One of my favorite things about this time of year is utilizing the produce bounty in creative ways so you can enjoy the flavors as the seasons' progress!

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i don't prep for any meal except for "when" i eat. i wake up in the mourning & decide then what i'll have that day but every once in a while i'll plan for the next day what i'd like to have then i wake up & decide on something else. what i do save money on is buying store brands of products. they are just as good as the named brands!

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Buying store-brand products is a solid tip! Thank you for that @PaulH627938.

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I haven't started doing it yet, but I bought the freezable containers. I'm waiting for meat & other food prices to get back to being affordable.

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@baka232  Grocery prices on meat are insane.  One more reason to go meatless a few days a week.

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I food prep all the time from breakfast to dinner one of my favorite dish is sautéed shrimp with parsley and cauliflower rice it’s so good 

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@k105016d  That sounds delicious!

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Mmm that sounds so tasty @k105016d! I love shrimp 🦐

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Avoid the cost and hassle of preparing, shopping, and cleaning up and eat out.  In the long run it’s cheaper.

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@2Papa I can totally understand.  The problem for me, is that I don't know how much salt, sugar and fat is lurking in there.

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🌷Hi @2Papa

I was surprised at your comment. And I have to say that I almost agree with you. It is a lot of hassle just to make the list check your food stuffs  go shopping come back home, unpack put it all away and then cook iit !
🌷I think we all need a wife actually.
I have found what works for me and I don’t stick to this 100% because I’m human is:

 I make one different soup every two days and I don’t add any protein to it. Instead for each meal I would add some varying protein ( chicken, fish, beans, eggs for egg drop soup, tofu ), to each meal to give it variety and also different spices and seasonings and most importantly some fresh herbs. 🌷 It’s very important not to eat food that is more than two days old~ the Chinese call that “wrecked food” and it really doesn’t nourish you and inspire you in your life because the life energy of the food sitting in the electrical refrigerator goes downhill after 48 hours.
freshly made meals every day make you feel like you’re turning back the hands of Time and de- aging.!

. I chose soups because according to traditional Chinese medicine, cooking soup mirrors what happens in your stomach which is the same thing you have like an inner cooking pot in your stomach that cooks your food & when you eat soups it’s like the perfect meal ~ soothing warming it’s very easy to digest and energizing. If it’s 90° out and you’re feeling hot you can make a soup but you don’t have to eat it boiling hot just let it cool a little bit. Last but not least you should store your food in glass storage jars and I wanted to mention that the only reason to use glass is because plastic has “dioxin” which is never a good thing to add to your stored meals. 
For more info on eating healthy see Mary Estella’s great cookbook :  “The Natural Foods Cookbook” & Paul Pitchford’s great book:  “Healing With Whole Foods.” Both at libraries. 

🌷Enjoy,  ~  Nell

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As an avid backpacker, I'm very used to doing pre-trip meal preparations that are healthy, lightweight, and just need the addition of boiling water. One thing to note is that backpacker meals are generally higher in calories than is necessary for more sedate lifestyles. My personal favorite source of these recipes is https://backcountryfoodie.com/ 

This is a subscription service so you do need to pay to get to the majority of the recipes.

 

Free sources of dehydrated meal recipes include:

 https://www.freshoffthegrid.com/backpacking-food-ideas/

 https://www.cleverhiker.com/blog/13-great-backpacking-meal-recipes-amp-food-dehydration-tips

 https://www.backpackingchef.com/best-backpacking-recipes.html

-Mark

 

 

The medicine man at www.medicinemanplantco.com
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@AARPRachelA  I absolutely agree with all of those tips.  I am trying to menu plan weekly.  Because it's a relief to sit down only once a week to plan and then you don't have that 5:00 what's for dinner situation.  Make it simple.  Nearly every morning for breakfast same thing.  Oatmeal, sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds, throw in nuts and berries.  That's 7 of your 21 meals done.  Throw in  four smoothies* and three soups** ( usually add yogurt to make creamy and for protein ) with  fruit, another 7 down.  We like veggie sandwiches ( 2 a week ), pasta dish (1) , salads (2),  stir-fry (1) then leftovers or take out (1)   It's working great for us.

*Smoothies three servings per blender full. ** One big pot makes at least six serving, especially if you extend with added yogurt before serving.

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Mmm all of that sounds delicious and nutritious! What kind of soups do you like to make @Rhymesometimes? I also like to use silken tofu for a creamy effect in soup, and it adds protein 💪

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@AARPRachelA  My husband and I are mostly vegetarian at this point, so we have been doing lots of bean and veggie soups.  Often put quinoa in, sometimes brown rice. Just learned about nutritional yeast, great source of protein.  Excellent on popcorn with avocado oil.

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I also recently discovered the goodness that is nutritional yeast! I make a yogurt "ranch" dipping sauce and add it to it, and I also add it to sauteed veggies. I just made veggie fried rice and added it to that as well!

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@AARPRachelA  Very creative!  Would love to get your yogurt ranch dipping sauce recipe.  Does it go well with tossed green salads?

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I think it would be tasty on salad, but I haven't tried it that way @Rhymesometimes. It may need to be thinned out a bit with some oil as it's pretty thick the way I make it. I use about a cup of greek yogurt, 1 tsp of nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp of onion powder, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, 1/2 tsp of dill, a couple of dashes of white wine vinegar and salt and pepper. stir it all up, taste and add more of something if you want so it's to your liking. I use it as a dip for veggies and as a spread on sandwiches.

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@AARPRachelA , I'm all in!  Thank you for the recipe.  Going to help up my veggie intake, especially greens.

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🌷 Dear Rhymes, 

Very easy & creative 21 Meals !

 

 

 

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