5 Ways I Want to Help Families Plan Healthy Meals on a Budget
Do you want your family to eat healthy and to spend less money on food?
I’m a Registered Dietitian, so healthy eating is important to me. But so is staying within my food budget (that frees up money to spend on other things!).
Healthy meal planning on a budget is possible, but it takes a little creativity and flexibility.
Meal planning doesn’t mean a diet. It’s not about restriction or following a rigid plan that someone else made for you.
Creative meal planning is a flexible way to plan meals that work around your busy life and your health needs and stay within your budget.
Here’s what I can do to help!
1. Provide easy-to-follow guides and tips to make meal planning simple and affordable for busy families
The hardest part about meal planning is overcoming not wanting to do it.
You’re in luck. I’m a Registered Dietitian, foodie, and passionate (some might say obsessed) about planning healthy meals on a tight budget. It’s like a game for me.
And I’m here to help you!
I have years of tips to make meal planning easily fit into your life, so planning isn’t stressful.
2. Recommend substitute ingredients so you can work with what you have, what your family likes, and stay within your budget
There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of cooking from a new recipe and realizing that you don’t have an ingredient.
And buying every single ingredient gets expensive and potentially wasteful if you don’t plan to use the ingredients for something else.
(Although trying new recipes is a good way to build up your pantry.)
Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients with what you already have. You don’t have to be a professional chef to alter recipes. I do it ALL THE TIME. I’ll give you ideas for substitutions and tips so you can have more confidence in the kitchen!
3. Help families create healthy and budget-friendly meals that work around their schedule (instead of a schedule that works around planning healthy family meals)
The problem with diets and meal plans someone else makes for you is that they do not take you and what’s going on in your life into consideration.
I think of creative meal planning as planning meals backward depending on-
- What’s going on this week
- What’s on sale this week
- What food you already have in the house
- Who is going to be home and for which meals
- What you feel like eating
All you need is paper and a pencil or a dry erase board because, despite your best attempt at planning, life usually has its own plans.
4. Write a weekly blog post to help families concerned about health (and food budgets!)
Healthy eating doesn’t have to take the back seat to saving time and money.
As a Registered Dietitian, I believe that what we eat plays a huge role in health, moods, and energy levels. Sometimes the focus on nutrition facts opens up as many questions as health information answers. I try to keep the focus on food instead of individual nutrients.
I’ll write a weekly blog about food (prep, storage, health benefits) and how to fit healthy options into your family’s meals.
5. Share tips on how to get organized and plan ahead so you can get meals on the table no matter what’s going on in your life
When I first got married and for the first few years after my oldest son was born, I spent Sundays cooking all our meals for the entire week.
I thought I had it all figured out, but it didn’t take long before I found myself stressed and working my plans around my all-day-cooking schedule. I worked full time then. Looking back, I realized that time would have been better spent with my son instead of cooking him homemade applesauce and banana bread with pureed cauliflower (not as mad as it sounds).
One-day-a-week cooking may work for some people, but it stopped working for my family. Instead, I’ve come up with ways to prep and cook parts of upcoming meals throughout the week depending on after-school activities, appointments, and what I feel like doing.
I’ll share tips on how to piggyback cooking and prep onto other meals when you have a little extra time. Another benefit of consolidating cooking is less frequent clean-ups!
Wrap It Up
Meal planning isn’t a commitment to perfection or to cooking every meal from scratch.
Life gets busy. Maybe you don’t have the mental energy or time to plan for one week or you don’t feel like cooking. No problem.
When that happens, re-work your family’s meal plan for the week so you don’t end up spending money ordering takeout every night.
I’ll help you plan healthy meals on a budget with tips, guides, and a weekly blog!
What would you like to learn more about? Leave a comment below!
About Jennifer Messineo, MS, RD
I’m a food loving Registered Dietitian. I help families plan meals, reduce food waste and save money on food!