Meal planning has a positive impact on our physical, financial, and mental health, so we created a meal plan that utilizes healthy, accessible, and affordable ingredients to create 7 days of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
For more tips on how to cook and eat healthy on a budget, see the rest of our Cooking on a Budget series.
If you missed our last few posts, we’ve been in the middle of our ‘Cooking on a Budget’ series. Last week, we sent out our All-in-One Freezer Guide, answering your top freezer questions. Hop on over to the post to see how infinite savings lie in this under-utilized kitchen appliance and also download the free printable.
We first kicked off this series by introducing the 10 Budget-Friendly Ingredients we keep stocked so that an affordable meal is never far away. This week, we’re building off this list with a free meal plan for 7 days worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that incorporate all these ingredients so we all can have inexpensive meals at our fingertips.
Even if you’re not on a budget, you can still get a lot of value out of this meal plan.
Most of us are incredibly busy and just don’t have the time or energy to figure out what to prepare for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week (especially for a family), which is why so many people just don’t do it.
However, I truly believe in the impact of meal planning on our physical, financial, and mental health. As a professional meal planner, I designed this awesome freebie to help you achieve a better place in all three of those areas.
7 Day Budget Meal Plan
Save money and eat healthier with this 7 Day Budget Meal Plan.
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In addition, this meal plan isn’t just about recipes – it shows you how to put our top 5 budget meal planning tips in practice:
1. Breakfasts are the perfect meals to repeat
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but unfortunately a lot of people skip it. If you have just a few breakfasts that you habitually make and rotate through, you’re much more likely to enjoy a healthy breakfast. Select just 1 or 2 to make in bulk for the week and regardless of how chaotic your weekday mornings are, you know you’ll start the day fueled. We’ve picked a few delicious breakfasts for you to start the day in this budget meal plan!
2. Turn your dinner into leftovers for lunch
Going out to lunch every day can be a bad habit for your health and bank account. If you’re gonna be cooking dinner, you might as well double and have some leftovers for lunch. Spend a little money on good lunch containers and a fun lunch bag to make your home cooked option something special. Plus, bringing your lunch saves you time from waiting in busy lunch lines. Use that extra time for a post-lunch walk with some coworkers!
3. Cook more vegetarian meals
Animal proteins are definitely more expensive than vegetarian proteins. Find a small handful of vegetarian recipes that utilize beans, lentils, tofu, and whole grains together that the whole family will enjoy, and you’re sure to see savings on your grocery bill. Plus, eating more vegetarian meals is just better for the environment since raising animals is very resource intensive.
4. Let each recipe inform the next
Don’t just select a set of random recipes. Select one, look at the ingredient list and let that help you select recipe #2, and so on. For example, if recipe #1 uses half a head of cabbage, you might find another recipe that needed cabbage to prevent food waste. Or if you were going to make rice for recipe #1, try to find a recipe that used leftover rice for recipe #2, so you can make once and eat twice! If you need help finding recipes with specific ingredients, sites like Yummly or Foodily can be very helpful.
5. Store and cook ingredients based on perishability
When deciding on order, use up your more perishable items earlier in the week. It also helps to store them so that they’re more visible too. Get our Produce Care and Shelf-Life Guide to make sure you’re storing and using up your produce optimally.
Lastly, if you want to experience the power of meal planning every week, check out our meal plan service. You can receive 3 more dinner plans for free when you sign up for a ‘Taste Test’ account.