Mealprepping for Dummies

I know, an image of a bodybuilder with Tupperware containers, packed full of kale and grilled chicken just popped into your mind. Calm down, pizza fits in Tupperware too.

For the past few weeks I have been preaching about bringing your lunch to work verses spending fortunes on eating out. Trust me, I have a love affair with Chic-Fil-A just as much as the next girl, but we have to stay loyal to our bank accounts.

Anyways, here is where I go from preaching, to helping you make this very subtle but beneficial change. There are at least a million excuses you can use to get out of this one, don’t. Maybe, you don’t like eating the same thing every day? I don’t either.

Can’t cook? Well, thank God for Turkey sandwiches. Maybe you enjoy the social aspect of going out to lunch? Cut it down to two days a week, I promise you won’t go into an isolation-induced coma. Bottom line, this will decrease your spending exponentially and probably even be healthier for you.

How much do you normally spend when you go out for lunch? Maybe if you swing by McDonald’s and order off the dollar menu (RIP), you could stay under $4 daily. But if you’re like the rest of us and enjoy an overpriced salad every once in a while, you’re probably spending at least $15 each time you choose to go to lunch. I bet you could make that same salad at home for a much more reasonable price.

As long as you’re trying and making small improvements, there’s no wrong way to do this. However, I’ll help you learn from my mistakes…

Don’t go grocery shopping hung over- when you’re tackling your weekly grocery list while battling a hangover and the hunger pains that come with it, you’re going to impulse buy. What I mean by this is you’re going to throw every carb-based food into your cart and hope for the best. By the end of the week, you will run out of viable meals and be forced to either suck down Ice Cream soup or revert back to your $15 salad.

Pick items that can be used in a few different meals- to stay on track, I always pick a few items that can be repurposed into more than just one meal. Think about all the combinations of meals you could make with chicken, tortillas, veggies, beans or rice, and cheese. These are all fairly cheap options and they can be mixed and matched to make wraps, quesadillas, salads, plate lunches, and hot dinners.

Don’t be afraid to reward yourself- everyone loves a pat on the back. Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be hell. You’re saving money, so reward yourself by picking out a bunch of ingredients to make homemade pizza with. I told you that pizza fits in Tupperware, didn’t I? The point of this is to save money, not to eat boring food. As long as you give yourself a dollar amount to spend at the grocery store every week and stick to it, it doesn’t matter which items you buy.

On average, I spend $75 a week at the grocery store. Do the math, that averages out to $3.57 per meal. If you can spend less than that by eating out, please let me know your secrets.

Amanda Dixon

www.talkfiscaltome.com