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Introduction: The Real Cost of Eating out Constantly
It’s no secret that eating out all the time isn’t great for you. Not only is it bad for your overall health, it’s also bad for your wallet. The price gap between cooking and dining out is increasing. That’s because restaurant prices are continuing to rise while grocery store prices generally stay the same. So, if you want to save money each week there’s one easy thing you can do. Meal prep!
#1 Prep a Batch of Chicken
Prepping a package of chicken is one of the easiest steps you can take to ensure that you’ll have enough protein to get you through the week. There are several ways you can meal prep chicken breasts. You can bake a batch of chicken breasts in the oven for roughly 30 minutes at 400 degrees. You can use different seasoning on each piece so that you don’t get bored! Otherwise, an easy way is by tossing your chicken breasts in a slow cooker and cooking on low for approximately 3 hours.
#2 Sheet Pan Veggies
To make a complete meal, you’ll need veggies to go with your protein! Choose your favorites for this large-batch recipe. Some great ideas are Brussel sprouts, potatoes, cauliflower, and butternut squash.Coat the vegetables in oil, season them with whatever your heart desires, and bake at 450 degrees for roughly 35 minutes until your veggies are tender. I promise that you won’t get sick of these exciting flavors!
#3 Prep Smoothies for Breakfast
Many of us are guilty of grabbing that muffin at the gas station, a quick meal from McDonald’s, or a fattening drink from Starbucks as our breakfast! There’s a cheaper and healthier option. You can meal prep smoothies ahead of time so that they’re all ready to go in the morning! Smoothies are a great option for breakfast because they’re food and drink all in one. Smoothies are perfect when you’re having a time-crunched morning! Buy fresh strawberries, bananas, blueberries, blackberries, and more. Cut up the bigger pieces of fruit and freeze them in individual baggies. Then each morning, grab a bag and toss it in your blender along with some milk, yogurt, and oats. It’s much quicker than having to make a whole meal for breakfast.
#4 Prep Snacks to Save on Losing Money to the Vending Machine
Those of us with a vending machine, know just how evil it can be! It almost seems to call our name until we can’t resist buying a sugary or salty snack. A survey found that American workers spend an alarmingly high amount of their hard earned cash on daily expenses. This includes the vending machine. We don’t realize just how much money we’re spending because it seems like a small amount. Instead of turning to the vending machine, prep little snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, carrots and hummus, pretzel baggies, trail mix, and more!
#5 Fill Your Freezer With Make-Ahead Meals
Freezer meals are quick, easy, and affordable! You can prep pot pie, casseroles, enchiladas, pasta, meat loaf, and more! All you have to do is prep the meal and then freeze until you’re ready to use! Creating these ahead of time and keeping them stored in your freezer ensures that you will save time on those busy weeknights. This is great when you’re tired from work or other obligations. Ordering a pizza during the week is so expensive. This will help you cut back on unnecessary eating out expenses when you’re too tired to cook.
#6 Always Keep Lettuce on Hand For Quick and Easy Meals
Lettuce is great because you can literally use it anytime! Lettuce can be used to create quick and easy salads, added to wraps, used on burgers, and more! You can use it as a whole meal by pairing it with protein. Lettuce is also affordable. You’ll never dish out more than a few bucks for a bag and it makes several meals.
#7 Cut and Freeze Meat Ahead of Time
Steak, chicken, and fish are always good to have on hand! Cut your meat, and portion it out into separate baggies. When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw that individual bag to make one meal. Having pre-portioned meat is great because you can cook it and add it to salad, stir fry, pasta, and more! This is a great hack because you’re not letting your meat expire in the fridge. It lasts much longer in the freezer and therefore you don’t have to worry about quickly cooking it.
#8 Stock Your Pantry With Staples
A can of vegetables, black beans, or chickpeas will only cost you around $1. Those are great staples to keep in your pantry at all times! That’s because you can create quick and easy meals using ingredients that you already have in your pantry. Casseroles and soups are easy to make out of ingredients you already have. You’ll also save a ton of money because you won’t have to throw these things away! Pantry staples don’t expire nearly as quickly as fresh food.
Conclusion: Meal Prepping Will Save you Time and Money Try meal prepping for at least a week and you’ll be amazed at how much time and money you’ll save! Did you find this list helpful? If so, share it! Also, let us know if you have any meal prep hacks that save you money.