meal prep for your budget

There are many reasons why to start meal prepping, but one of the easiest to appreciate is how it can help your budget! Whether you are living paycheck-to-paycheck or just wanting to save a bit of extra cash, the grocery budget is one area that can have a lot of give. With the right planning most people can easily cut their grocery bill in half!

I want you to stop and think for a moment: When you go to the grocery store, how do you shop? Do you go and grab what looks good to you? Do you have a list that you follow? How did you create that list? Did you use specific recipes and check your pantry for what you already have or did you just write down the things you usually buy with a vague plan in mind?

These are all things that can affect how large your grocery bill is! And with a bit of thought and practice, they are all things that can become easier and help you save money. By using these practices, I routinely keep our grocery bill around $100-120 per week! I could reasonably cut that even lower if I wanted to, but we have decided that there are certain products that we buy that are worth the extra cost.

To have meal prep really help your budget, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind!

Meal prep can help you save a lot on your grocery budget! Here are the top 3 things I keep in mind when planning my own meal prep to be budget-friendly!

3 Things to Consider for Budget Meal Prep

What do I already have in my pantry that needs to be used up?

This is especially relevant for produce or dairy products that are going to expire or go bad soon. Have some veggies looking a little sad? Plan to make a soup or stew to use them up! Have some canned ingredients that have been lingering on your shelves? Pick a recipe to use them up!

What recipes can I pick that have overlapping ingredients?

This can work for just about any type of ingredient, though I use this a lot for meat and produce. Two of the most common ingredients I will plan to use in multiple recipes on a given week: chicken and cabbage! Chicken is often available in large packages at a reduced per-pound cost. And one head of cabbage produces a lot of cabbage for your recipes!

For example, if I plan to meal prep 3 chicken recipes in a given week, I can buy a large package with enough for all three, saving me money and lowering wasted ingredients. Cabbage I usually plan out that way because most recipes call for less than a full head of cabbage. If I plan for 2 recipes, the cabbage gets used up! (Plus cabbage is incredibly cheap!) But that is just two examples! There are so many recipes and ingredients you can do this with! Think about it for a bit: What are some ingredients you use frequently?

What items are on sale at my grocery store?

I don’t honestly do this one very often, but it can be very helpful and I have used it a lot in the past! When you sit down to write your menu, first pull up the websites for the grocery stores you go to (or grab their mailers) and check out what main ingredients are on sale. Now, you want to be careful with this one. Focus on main ingredients only and try to pick things you would buy normally. Otherwise, this can go from money-saving to expensive very quickly. One of the ways I used this most was looking at what meat was on sale, especially chicken breasts or pork chops. Then I would choose my recipes for the week centered around that type of meat. This could work for just about any main ingredient though and I have used it before for produce as well!

Keeping these 3 things in mind when planning your meal prep menu can significantly increase your savings each week and reduce food wastage too!

What are your favorite ways to lower your food budget? Have your tried planning out your meal prep to be more budget-friendly? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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sunday meal prep 10/23/16

There are a couple things that I have been trying to focus on more lately in my meal preps: budget-friendly and relatively easy to do. This meal prep succeeds in both! A lot the ingredients are things that I keep stocked in our pantry. And all the recipes were pretty quick to put together and get cooking!

Enjoy!

This quick and inexpensive meal prep makes it easier for you to have more time for the things you love and still eat healthy all week!

I decided to go with some of our favorites this week for our snacks: Cookie Dough Protein Balls, Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins and No Bake Maple Vanilla Nut Latte Protein Balls! Other than our regular protein balls, I’m pretty sure that these Maple Vanilla ones are my new favorite! I love the addition of the coffee 🙂

Healthy snacking is made easier with these tasty treats!

For this week’s main dishes, I made a couple new dishes: Slow Cooker Wild Rice, Quinoa & Chicken Soup, and One Pot Chicken and Broccoli Rice! Both were pretty tasty, though Draz and I agreed that we would like the soup to be more flavorful. I think if I make that one again I’m going to be adding a lot more seasoning to it! It was a good base to start with though 🙂 I think the chicken and rice was Draz’s favorite and I will probably be making that one again soon!

The main dishes for our healthy meal prep!

For our other two main dishes for this week’s meal prep, I made Healthy Kung Pao Chicken and more Baked Beef Chimichangas. I think Draz might be a bit hooked on those Chimichangas right now haha! Both of these turned out as delicious as they always do!

Want the grocery list to go with this week’s meal prep? Get yours here!

That’s it for this week’s meal prep! What are some of your favorite recipes to have week after week? Anything catch you recently like the Chimichangas have us? What are you cooking this week? I would love to hear about it, so please leave a comment below!

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sunday meal prep 10/16/16

Hey all! I hope you had a wonderful week! Here things went pretty well, with some progress on a few exciting changes I hope to tell you about soon!! Other than that, if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I have been back to my workouts and at the gym full-force this week and loving it (despite having a bit of a cold 🙂 )

This week was a perfect example of why I love meal prep so much. Even with work, the gym, my other projects, and not feeling my best, we had healthy and filling meals the whole week! And after the actual cooking on Sunday, all of that required no extra work from me. I don’t think I would be overstating when I say that meal prep is one of the things that makes it possible for me to work towards my dreams! Which is why I love sharing those meal preps with you, so you can do the same!

So with that, enjoy this week’s meal prep (and make sure to get your grocery list)!

Use meal prep and your free grocery list to help you eat healthy all week and have more time for the things you love!

We were running low on breakfast burritos in the freezer, which ended up being perfect timing! Last weekend I went hiking with my parents and they had some extra bell peppers from their garden….so some of them went right into the breakfast burritos! Being able to cook with garden fresh ingredients is great, isn’t it?!

My two breakfast essentials! Breakfast burritos for the freezer and cinnamon bread for the pantry! Plus some roasted chickpeas to snack on :-)

2 sizes freezer breakfast sausage burritos
Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Print Recipe
These breakfast burritos are a staple in our home! Tasty and filling, they are our favorite breakfast. Pair with some healthy homemade cinnamon bread and cottage cheese and you have a breakfast that will start your day off right!
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
2 sizes freezer breakfast sausage burritos
Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Print Recipe
These breakfast burritos are a staple in our home! Tasty and filling, they are our favorite breakfast. Pair with some healthy homemade cinnamon bread and cottage cheese and you have a breakfast that will start your day off right!
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
28-30 burritos 45 minutes, split
Cook Time Passive Time
20-25 minutes 10-15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: burritos
Instructions
  1. Brown sausage over med-high heat in a large skillet. When sausage is almost cooked through, add bell pepper and onions. Saute until tender. While sausage is cooking, beat eggs and any desired seasonings together.
  2. Once sausage and veggie mixture is cooked, add egg mixture. Cook, stirring regularly, until eggs are almost set. Add cheese and salsa; cook 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggs fully set. Remove from heat and allow to cool, 10-15 minutes.
    freezer sausage breakfast burrito filling mixture
  3. Once mixture is cooled, spoon into tortillas and fold into a burrito. Wrap in cling wrap (my preference) or aluminum foil.
    2 sizes freezer breakfast sausage burritos
Recipe Notes

Our burritos have two sizes. Mine have 1/3 c filling wrapped in a FlatOut wrap. Draz's have 2/3 c. filling wrapped in a larger (burrito-size) white tortilla. This recipe usually makes 30 burritos in total, 15 of each size. If you are just making the smaller burritos, it should make roughly 54 burritos.

To Heat: Remove from freezer and allow to thaw overnight. Heat in microwave 1.5-2 minutes, flipping once. (You can heat straight from the freezer, but I find it's harder to heat evenly that way)

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Healthier Cinnamon Bread
Print Recipe
I have loved having cinnamon bread as part of my breakfast for a long time now, but I wasn't always happy about how healthy it was. Not so with this recipe! After a lot of adapting and experimenting, I created this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Healthier Cinnamon Bread
Print Recipe
I have loved having cinnamon bread as part of my breakfast for a long time now, but I wasn't always happy about how healthy it was. Not so with this recipe! After a lot of adapting and experimenting, I created this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 20 min
Cook Time Passive Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
Servings: loaves
Instructions
  1. All of these directions are using an electric stand mixer. If you are using something else, adjust as needed.
  2. In your mixing bowl, add bananas, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla essence. Mix on low until combined. Add unsweetened almond milk, then lemon juice; continue mixing on low.
  3. One cup at a time, slowly add whole wheat flour while mixing on low, scraping sides of bowl between each cup. After adding the last cup of flour, add the baking soda. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix on low briefly to fully combine.
  4. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon to make a cinnamon sugar mixture.
  5. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. Put 1/2 of the batter (or a little less) into the loaf pans; 1/4 in each pan. Sprinkle 3/4 of the cinnamon mixture on top of the batter in each pan.
  6. Add remaining batter to pans, then sprinkle with last of the cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife.
  7. Bake at 350 for 1 hr or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional Information according to MyFitnessPal: 141 calories - Carbs 32 g, Fat 1 g , Protein 3 g , Cholesterol 16 mg, Sodium 116 mg, Potassium 120 mg, Sugars 17 g, Vitamin A 1%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 5%, Iron 5%

Nutritional Information is for 1 slice. Each loaf, for us, comes to 13 slices.

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I also made a couple types of protein balls, some roasted chickpeas, salads and cinnamon bread. I’m still trying to get the recipe right for the roasted chickpeas, but you can find the basic recipe below. I will update it when I finally get the seasoning right! (They are still pretty good in that recipe, just vary the seasonings to your liking) Our normal protein balls turned out delicious! The other ones this week were Peanut Butter Brownie Balls and, well, I had some issues. She says at the end to add extra honey at the end if they are too dry….I should have followed that. Instead, I thought they were forming well enough and didn’t. They taste great but are kinda crumbly when I actually try to eat them!

Spiced-Garbanzo-Beans
Spiced Chickpeas
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 min
Cook Time
30-35 min
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 min
Cook Time
30-35 min
Spiced-Garbanzo-Beans
Spiced Chickpeas
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 min
Cook Time
30-35 min
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 min
Cook Time
30-35 min
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast 30-35 minutes or until crisp.
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Some healthy snacks and lunches!

As for our main dishes this week, I went with a mix of new and old recipes. The old recipes include Garlic Parmesan Pasta, Slow Cooker Chicken, Potatoes & Green Beans, and Baked Beef Chimichangas. For our new ones, I made Red Curry Lentils & Cauliflower, and Spicy Thai Chicken & Veggie Noodles. Everything turned out delicious! I think the one complaint either of us had was that, for the Spicy Thai Chicken, the rice noodles (which I had never used before) soaked up too much of the sauce, making the dish a bit dry later on. I think next time we might go back to our regular chow mein noodles and/or double the sauce.

And that’s it for this week’s meal prep! What did you make for your own meal prep this week? If you don’t meal prep, how do you think meal prep could help you with your current schedule? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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sunday meal prep + a grocery list so you can follow along!

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be bringing you this week’s meal prep! Not only does it include some of my favorite dishes, but now you can use the free downloadable grocery list so you can make this meal prep for yourself! Right now the list is just for the main dishes…I would love to know what you think and if you would like me to expand that to include all of the rest of the prep as well. 🙂

Enjoy!
Meal prep easier than ever with my new downloadable grocery list! Now you can follow along with my prep with ease and eat healthier all week long!

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