Strategies for Improving Your Food Shopping and Meal Preparation
Many busy families seem to get more and more disorganized with their food shopping and preparation. It’s well worth the time to plan and carry out various time and money-saving methods to shop and prepare food. Follow the tips below and your family will benefit from more nutritious meals and snacks, money saved, and less time spent running to the store.
1. Enlist the help of the whole family and plan nutritious menus for the week. Buy or make a menu white board that attaches to the refrigerator or the wall. Fill out a weekly menu. Decide what you need to purchase and make out your grocery list.
Benefits: Planning meals for a whole week makes it possible to take care of most of the food shopping in one trip. You can tell at a glance what you will be eating the next day and then can even do some preparation beforehand. Looking at the menus will tell you, at a glance, if you are serving your family varied and nutritious meals.
2. Plan the snack menu in the same way as the meals. Choose one substantial snack for the morning and one for the afternoon. Get suggestions from the kids. Make them fun & creative. Serve a sweet or salty snack once in a while.
Benefits: If the children know just what they will be getting for a snack, they won’t begin grazing all afternoon for snacks. They will be less likely to eat too many empty calories with little nutrition.
3. Try to keep trips to the store down to once a week. Maybe a short trip once a week will be needed.
Benefits: You will save both time and money. Added trips to the grocery store usually result in buying extra items impulsively.
4. On the weekends take some time to do some preparation for the week’s meals. Buy some bones from the butcher and make some homemade broth for soup and vegetable dishes. This can easily be done in a crock pot. Make a double batch of a menu item and freeze some for a meal later in the week. Have a “chopping party.” Cut up all ingredients for salads and other vegetable dishes, put them in containers and label.
Benefits: The chore of preparing dinner won’t be so overwhelming if you see that some of the tasks are already done. With a supply of beef broth, you will be able to put the ingredients for stew or soup into the crock pot in the morning. If everything is already cut up and the broth is ready, you just have to dump.
5. Keep some microwave dinners in the freezer for those days when everything falls apart and you need a quick dinner.
Benefits: Just being realistic, there’s going to be days when you can’t do anything else but fix a quickie. But you’ll be glad that you won’t have to do this that often, since you now have a menu plan.
Commit yourself to planning meals and shopping carefully. Besides saving money, you will save time and have more nutritious meals and snacks for your family. The benefits will definitely outweigh the inconvenience involved. Make planning a habit!