Did you know the average Atlanta resident spends $314 to $622 on groceries and food every month? After rent, food is often the biggest expense in American households. If you’re looking for a way to cut food costs while still eating healthy, consider meal prepping. It’s a great way to save money because it requires you to think about your meals and only purchase the items you need for the week.
Meal prepping is simply planning and preparing some or all of your weekly meals ahead of time. It’s kind of like setting a budget, but for food. Like budgeting, meal planning takes some time but it’s super easy once you get the hang of it.
5 Tips to Get Started Meal Prepping
1. Invest in reusable food storage containers.
Since meal prepping involves preparing meals ahead of time, you need good containers to keep your food fresh. Purchase 4-5 bowl-sized containers with lids for each meal you plan to prep. For example, if you plan to prepare a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, you’ll need at least 20-25 containers. Each container will hold a pre-portioned meal that can be easily stacked inside the fridge. When you’re hungry, grab one, throw it in the microwave, and enjoy a home-cooked meal in 3 minutes or less. Save money by checking local thrift stores for dishwasher-safe containers.
2. Batch cook your favorite meals.
Choose one day a week where you cook a big batch of your favorite meals. Make enough for 4-5 days and portion the food into your containers. Batch cooking allows you to buy fewer ingredients and waste less food. Plus, when you cook and clean only once a week, you also save a lot of time.
3. Pick an inexpensive base.
Rice, pasta, and beans are just a few foods that are both filling and cheap. Start with one of these inexpensive bases when thinking about your meal plan. Plan to fill at least 50% of your container with this ingredient and then add meat, veggies, sauce, and other foods for a well-rounded meal.
4. Make double and freeze the extra.
Soup, lasagna, pasta sauce, and chili are all meals that freeze well. If they’re on your weekly menu, consider making a double batch and freezing half for later. They’ll be ready to go for a super quick lunch or dinner.
5. Stock up when items go on sale.
It’s a great way to save money on items you regularly purchase for meals. For example, your grocery story running a manager’s special on chicken thighs and you only need one pack for your meal prep. Buy two. Use one for your meal prep and freeze the other. Every little bit of savings adds up down the road.
So, let’s get cooking! With these tips, you’re well on your way to saving money and time by meal prepping.
Are you excited to cook your own food but don’t have a kitchen? Check out PadSplit. PadSplit offers great, affordable rooms in co-living houses. Rooms have access to a full modern kitchen with all the appliances and counter space you’ll need to create your next meal.