How To Plan Meals By The Week To Save Money And Stay Healthy
With the cost of living on the rise, many families are looking for ways to trim their budgets without sacrificing a healthy lifestyles to do it. For the ultimate budget-friendly health and wellness hack, the best place to start may just be your kitchen, where you can develop a high-impact health and wellness routine that makes for a happy bank account just by changing the way you plan your meals.
If there is a silver lining to the budget strain, it’s that health and wellness is often about not doing things that cost a good amount of money but are difficult to stop doing, like eating out when you’re too tired to go shopping and cook.
Eating out may be fast and convenient, but it’s often as bad for your sodium intake as it is hard on the wallet. Too much sodium is bad for your health, and since most of our sodium intake comes from restaurants and packaged food, ditching restaurants for home-cooked meals is one of the highest impact ways to manage your family’s sodium intake and improve their health.
To combat the roadblock of being too tired to cook from time to time, you can make cooking sustainable by giving yourself the structure to make the healthiest choices at the lowest price and planning your meals for the week ahead of time.
Budget-Friendly Meal Planning Health and Wellness Hacks
When planning your menu for the wellness of your health and budget alike, consider incorporating some or all of our top 5 high-impact, budget-friendly health and wellness hacks when planning your menu.
Health & Wellness Hack #1: Load Up on Nutrient-Rich Foods
When you cook your own meals, you’re more in control of the nutritional content of what you eat as well as your budget, and the health benefits of cooking multiply when you plan your meals in advance to include nutrient-rich, health-boosting food throughout the week. This can be especially beneficial when it comes to getting the crucial nutrients that many people don’t get nearly enough of in their diets, like magnesium and potassium. When you create your menu, make sure it includes plenty of magnesium-rich foods and natural food sources of potassium!
Health & Wellness Hack #2: Plan Your Meals Around Seasonal Produce
Get into the spirit of the seasons, and eat seasonally! Seasonal produce is often less expensive, and tastes better to boot. As a bonus, seasonal eating keeps your weekly menu interesting, as the seasons introduce new options and inspire new recipes.
Health & Wellness Hack #3: Make A Few Meals Meatless
According to the US Department of Agriculture, we can expect the price of beef, chicken and other poultry to continue to rise. On the bright side, cutting back on meat is as good for your health as it is for your budget. Eating less meat has been linked to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
If you’re ready to try swapping a meal or two out for a vegetarian option every week, you can find family-friendly meatless dinner recipes here.
Health & Wellness Hack #4: Make Enough For Leftovers
To maximize the budget-friendly benefits of cooking, spend less money on lunch by planning to make enough for leftovers. Take care of your mental health too: freeze a portion for when you want to cut yourself a break from cooking.
Health & Wellness Hack #5: Set Yourself Up To Make Healthy Choices
By cooking your meals at home and planning your weekly menu ahead of time, you create a routine and structure that healthy habits can more easily be built on while also trimming your budget.
Examples of the budget-friendly healthy habits you can encourage by making weekly menu planning part of your routine include:
- Make it easier to choose healthy snacks and drinks by only having healthy options available in the house.
- Swap coffee for tea—especially green tea—to save money at the coffee shop while fueling your body with cancer-fighting antioxidants.
- Reduce your intake of processed food to significantly lower your family’s sugar intake, which then decreases risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
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