THE BEST MEAL PREP TIPS COME FROM THOSE ON A FOOD JOURNEY
The hardest task for any kitchen warrior is to make everyone in the house is happy when it comes to meal-time. If you want to learn about meal prep don’t go to someone who has never done it before, consult the professionals and I don’t mean those with a University degree either.
Joining Facebook or other community groups which consist of people on the same food journey as you and successful is a bullet-proof way to keep focused and learn. They are always willing to share tips with you so you too can get a kick-start with your meal prep ideas.
You may question whether meal prep is worth it but only you can answer that. Consider your lifestyle and ask yourself what you’d rather be doing after working all day? Cooking, Relaxing, Playing with the kids, Working Out, Cleaning etc. If you’re eating out at work every day possibly the only change you need to make is prepping delicious healthy meals to take along with you.
Oh, and telling your colleagues that you’ve brought your lunch and can’t join them at the restaurant. You could however ask if sitting in the park for lunch is an option and tag along for the ride. You don’t need to be excluded from the lunch/dinner conversation if your buddies are willing to compromise. It typically falls between spending less but more effort vs. spending more money for convenience.
Related: Eating out vs. Eating in
Who has money to blow eating out all the time anyways?
Meal prep ideas are simple foods that you can prep ahead of time to make your meal planning easier throughout the week. There’s nothing fancy about it although we do know that when food is readily available whether we are away from home or busy around the house eating out tends to dwindle.
Eating out costs a fortune no matter where you go. You can always make food at home for less. You may not be able to create Michelin star quality meals but you won’t go hungry.
Meal Prep Ideas
You may have noticed over the past two years that our Sunday recipe posts have transformed to low-carb, gluten-free and keto-friendly.
This change in eating came with much planning and meal prep was and still is critical.
The easiest meal prep ideas begin with foods that you already know how to prepare and know that you will eat.
After Mrs. CBB had our son
she we started a low-carb, keto diet to help her lose weight, eat healthier and cut the sugar from her diet.
This has since become a foodie lifestyle for my wife and I with noticeable results but most of all no more migraines. (knock on wood, right?)
Part of idea was to make sure that she was somewhat ahead of the grocery game in terms of meal prep ideas. These meal prep ideas included plenty of recipe testing but was fun and encouraged the both of us to work together in the kitchen as a couple.
Although my wife is a stay at home mom it’s important for her to have meals prepped up to a certain extent so she can focus her energy on our son, taking care of her health, general house work and paying the bills. I will never, ever say a thing to my wife when I come home and things aren’t done or organized because I understand just how much work it takes to be a stay at home parent.
You play many roles and when you have health issues like she does it just adds to the stress of making it through the day.
One Week Meal Plan Prep For Weight Loss
What started as weight-loss has changed to lifestyle but that first week of meal planning has not only kept us both on track it helped us to weed out the stuff we no longer need in our pantry. I’m more than ever reading labels and surprised at the amount of sodium, sugar and carbohydrates in products.
A plan to get back on track that started with my wife had now spilled over to me and to a small degree our son. We struggle to get him to eat much but we offer him a variety of foods daily and do our best to stay away from pre-made foods.
I will be the first to say that it’s not always possible to cook everything homemade when parents are working or in our case struggling with medical problems. Peanut butter, cookies and jam may be purchased instead of homemade or even stockpiled.
I’ve also realized that I don’t understand half the ingredients on product labels which started to worry me. Growing up in my wife’s family included hunting, fishing and gardening. Her mother would be in the kitchen prepping food for the day, week, month and baking sweets for desserts even though she worked full-time. We still don’t know how she did it. Maybe we’re too spoiled these days. There wasn’t much in the way of grocery shopping apart from every day essentials spices, oils, condiments etc.
Healthy Meal Prep
The easiest way to meal prep when you are in a relationship is together if both of you eat the same type of diet. If yes, this can simplify the cooking and shopping process.
Grocery shopping for two lifestyle eating habits may be time-consuming in and out of the kitchen which is why meal prep is so important.
Great meal prep ideas start with a plan which includes;
- Grocery Budget
- Great recipes
- Meal Plan
A diet rich in butter, bacon, nut flours and so on with a low-carb keto diet can drive food expenses up however if you’re no longer buying foods that you used to then you may find you can balance the grocery budget easier. The problem I see people run into is when one partner eats a regular diet and the other starts something different such as Keto, Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free etc.
Meal Prep Ideas We Use To Help Chop Time and Save Money
- Wash, Chop, Rice or Spiralize all vegetables when we get home from the grocery store and refrigerate for the week.
- Pre-cook our protein, marinate or skewer so they are ready to use, We’ve prepped beef, chicken, turkey and lamb mince in advance for salads, sandwiches or hot meals.
- Make large portions of dishes such as pasta sauce or soups so we can portion what we need for the week and freeze the rest.
- Hard Boil a Dozen or two of eggs for easy snacks and to use as a recipe ingredient
- Assemble salads for the week in Jars or containers
- Saute spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, kale so it’s ready to go in our chosen recipes for the week
- Prepare and bake anything that complements our meals such as breads, muffins, cakes etc.
Meal prep ideas and recipes we’ve created for our family
Eggnotta Crustless Quiche is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner and can be made in advance served with a salad or on its own. Easy
Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf is easy to prep, bake and serve in portions for lunch and dinner.
Everyone loves pasta but when you are cutting carbs sauce is a life-saver for meals that include spaghetti and meatballs, spaghetti squash, spiral zucchini or eggplant lasagna in our house.
Everyone likes a bit of sweetness on their toast or desserts especially once you go sugar-free. Having a few jars of berry jam in the freezer makes for a delicious topping. You’ll save money too as it’s pricey to buy sugar-free jam.
Every once in a while we crave a cake , cookies and ice-cream which is why we pick one treat for the week and that is what we add to our menu. If we get bored we create new recipes.
Watch how fast you’ll be happy you did the prep work in advance!
All of our recipes above are low-carb, gluten-free and sugar-free and just a few of the meals we prep on the weekend for the week. Sometimes we do our meal prep on a Monday but it depends on your family schedule. There are no rules to say meal prep has to be on Sunday so don’t use that as an excuse for not doing it.
Discussion Question: What foods do you meal prep and how do you plan your meal prep menu?
October Grocery Game Challenge
Join in the 2017 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are The Grocery Game Challenge rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the 2017 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule.
Post your shop and you can be next. Two numbers left in the draw….one is $10 the other is $50~
New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules
Free Money Saving Tools 2017
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2017
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2017 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3180 or $265/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $265
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $265
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 646,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
- Shoppers Optimum: 983,000 O.M.G
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet to cash out : $18.25… no idea where the money went but it seems we have $0.
- Checkout51 to cash out : $24.50 we cashed out so we’re back at O.
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- 2 x cooking pumpkins $2.10 and $2.25
- 3 bananas $0.47
- 2 4L milk $4.27 each
- Raspberries $1.88
- Oatmeal Cookies $0.99
- Eggs large $1.88
- Bag of 5 avocado $1.99
- Ricotta $1.99
- Popcorn $1.50 3pk
Total Out-of-pocket $23.59
- Salerno Mozzarella $20.99
- Bananas $1.57
- Blackberries $4.99
- Renee’s Caesar Dressing $5.79
- 3 pk Dumpsters Whole Wheat Bread $5.99
- Bag of apples $5.99
- Mushrooms 1lb $4.99
- Parmesan Whisps $11.99
- Brie $10.99
- 6 x 10% Lactancia cream $1.95
- 2 pk Extra large Eggs $5.99
- 3pk seedless cucumbers $2.97
- 3 pack German Salami $11.99
Total Out-of-pocket $105.94
Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $265
- Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $20.93
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $0
- Total in-store discounts to date: $699.44
- Total spent this week: $129.53
- Total spent so far this month: $214.10
- Total over/Under spend this shop: over
- Total over/Under spend for the month: n/a
- Total left to spend for the month: $50.90
- Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $263.60 + April $273.83+ May $257.15 + June $65.43+July $226.84+August $283.51+September $208.69+ October $
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
I was wrong we needed more than just a few staples but now we are stocked up so I’m confident we can make the end of the month with the remaining $50.
Coupons and Coupon Apps
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.
Grocery Game Challenge 2017 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2017 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10-$20-$50 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $CDN via PayPal. Please see GGC rules.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons:Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why The Grocery Game Challenge is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2017!
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