As a busy mom, being able to complete food preparation and saving money while doing so has evolved as my children have grown. Be that as it may, much of what I did when they were younger still applies now. Consequently, there are also things that they have begun to learn about saving and preparing food.
There are several things to keep in mind when going to the grocery store.
1) Never go to the grocery store hungry. It inspires “hunger” buys
2) Always bring a list and stick to it. Not sticking to the shopping list can quickly
blow the budget
3) Know what is in the freezer/pantry to avoid purchasing items that are not needed.
4) Do not get fooled by prepackaged foods catering to kids. Your child cannot eat the
cartoon on the box.
Those quick hints above might seem small, but they make a huge difference in the total on the grocery receipt.
With that said, many things have stayed the same. Fresh fruits and vegetables have always been a staple of our diets. Taking the time to learn how to preserve certain items has made a big difference in the amount of money time that was being saved every week.
How Preparation Happens
Meal prep has added meaning in my home, that ready to eat foods are made available in the fridge. Large bowls of different types of salads such as macaroni, potato, or leafy greens are always on hand. Additional items such as tomatoes, onions, and lettuce are prepared to encourage the use of them on sandwiches. Instead of running to the store to buy cookies or chips, they know there is something much more substantial in the fridge waiting for them.
Another benefit of meal prep is that I do not always have to be home to ensure that my boys are having a nutritious meal. My freezer is full of tv dinners that I spend an average of 3 to 4 hours a month preparing. Over the years, I have learned a variety of dishes that freeze very well and taste great with veggies chopped up inside them. As teenagers, they can be depended on to take something out of the freezer and stick it in the oven. Now, as they are only human teenage boys, it means making sure they remember to preheat the oven to the proper temperature. Not to mention, putting the food on a baking tray to help prevent spills. If you think that is funny, you should have been there when I tried to explain to my oldest how to use a can opener over the phone.
Our favorites include chicken breast with stuffing or rice, baked mushroom or meat ravioli with homemade tomato or Alfredo sauces, fish over a bed of rice, beans, and rice with turnip greens, baked ziti, and a ton of other dishes.
Many of the recipes that I have learned to make over the years, I have gotten from someplace that was delivered. My family liked it and it inspired me to learn how to make it. It is also a wonderful way to learn about new ingredients. A few months ago, I discovered how to make cheese sauce and Alfredo sauce from scratch. If your meal prep repertoire is growing a little stale, simply order from a new restaurant.
Do not be worried if you are short money to order out. Keep the menus that are dropped off at your home all during the week. Those will provide plenty of inspiration for new meals and new ingredients. The great thing is, the list of ingredients for each dish is listed on the menu.
It’s important to note that you should not purchase more fresh vegetables than you can eat or freeze in the next few days. Regardless of how great the sale was, wasted food is money in the trash. Quite a few vegetables such as cabbage, celery, and onions freeze very nicely and can be used from frozen in many other different dishes. Foods like frozen berries can be used in yogurts, hot cereals, and smoothies. In my particular grocery store blueberries, and raspberries are often on sale when they are in season.
Getting Delivery Services
Now, there does come a day in every busy mom’s life that dinner is not getting cooked that night. It used to be that deliveries came from pizza chains or the local carry-outs. However, the use of meal delivery service has expanded rapidly, and individuals are scrambling to sign up with the most popular options. The broadening of options has made it possible to order meals based on your preference and discover new ones. The best part is since the orders are being paid for via the applications or online and the delivery can be done contactless, you can be on the way home as the food is en route.
It’s the new trend. Of course, there is one thing that every family will love. Being a busy mom means trying to pull everything together, including dinner at one time and not losing your cool while doing it. Consequently, it can be hard to ensure the budget stays balanced and a meal arrives at the table. The good thing is when the going gets tough, the tough can call delivery!
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