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Families across the world struggle every day to save both time and money when it comes to preparing food. Yet, there are some things that they could be doing to help do just that.
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You can avoid that state of panic or moment of frustration
that occurs whenever you hear the question "What's for Dinner?" by
doing some pre-planning and kitchen prep. Without a meal plan, you may find yourself
dashing into the grocery store on the way home and picking up something without
evaluating its impact on the budget. Worse yet, you may opt for the easy, but
not necessarily the healthiest or most budget-friendly option of grabbing fast
food. There are some easy kitchen preparation ideas that can save you time and
money and eliminate unwise food related choices.
You can save money on groceries by devising a weekly meal
plan that coincides with the weekly grocery sales ads. At the beginning of
every week, write down exactly what you need for that week’s meals. Then,
organize the list by the stores that you can get those items from that are the
cheapest. Shopping according to what's in season can also save you some money.
You might be tempted to buy those neat little packages of
pre-cut cheese, fruits and vegetables until you compare their cost to the cost
of the uncut version. Opt for the better bargain. When you get home, store the
food appropriately until you have time to cut, chop, slice and dice it. Try to
set aside an hour or so to devote to this activity. Be sure to store the items
properly so that they will remain fresh until you're ready to eat them or use
them in a recipe. Keeping bags of chopped fruits and veggies in the
refrigerator can encourage you and your kids to grab a healthy snack instead of
an unhealthy option.
Making bulk buys when meat is on sale is great for the
budget. However, it's only a money saving experience if you use the meat before
it spoils. Vacuum sealed foodsaver
bags are also ideal for storing items you buy in bulk. It's best to package
and freeze meat on the same day you purchase it. If possible, plan to shop on a
day when you have some extra time. Then you can cook the bulk amount of meat
that you purchased. When cooked, divide it into quantities that are compatible
with your recipes and cooking style and put it in the freezer.
Making double batches of casseroles, pasta dishes and other
meals is a great time-saver. You can eat one and freeze the other. Having meals
prepared that go from freezer to oven to table can eliminate a lot of stress on
an evening when you work late or your schedule doesn't leave time for preparing
an entire meal from scratch. Don't overlook the need for some quick breakfast
foods. Preparing some breakfast casseroles and putting them in the freezer can
be a time saver on a hectic morning or a luxury on the weekend.
Sometimes it's the small details that get overlooked or left
out of a meal completely when you're pressed for time. As part of your kitchen
preparation plan you can set aside some time to prepare several pans of
biscuits. Once they're cool, package them in bags according to whatever amount
you typically need at meal time. Having biscuits in the freezer can be helpful
for any meal and, by freezing them, you can make sure that none go to waste.
Actually, this is a really good idea to do with any type of bread that you
might have as well.
Planning, frugal shopping and proper food storage are time
saving and money saving habits that anyone can benefit from. If you oversleep
or work late, having a heat and eat item in the freezer is a convenience you'll
appreciate. Keep on top of what's in your refrigerator so that food doesn't
spoil. It's a good idea to have something like a pizza or omelets to use up
small portions of veggies leftover from the weekly meal plan.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys reading reading books out on the lake while kayaking.
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