Meal prepping can be a daunting task. It involves purchasing food, prep work and planning...but trust us, meal prepping saves you from spending a ton of money on take out or buying ready made foods to cook at home. This meal prep blog will guide you through Monica Lo's personal tips for saving money without sacrificing flavor.
So easy my toddler can do it | Photography by Monica Lo
As a busy new mom, meal planning has been invaluable for managing my time and resources. For many of us, the importance of meal prepping to save money is even more crucial due to the ongoing inflation of grocery prices. According to recent reports, the cost of food has risen by more than 6% in the past year alone, and this trend is expected to continue throughout 2023. We’ve definitely been getting creative with how we cut down on food waste and save money in this household.
One of the main advantages of meal prepping is that it allows you to plan your meals and grocery shop in advance. And by buying ingredients in bulk and cooking in large quantities, you can also save money on the cost per serving of your meals. I’ve also been using my Avid Armor Ultra Series USV20 Chamber Vacuum Sealer to seal and freeze my food in perfect portions! I also use Avid Armor’s pre-cut vacuum sealer bags because they are long-term freezer-safe, cook-safe (microwave, boil, simmer and sous vide), BPA-free, and use FDA-approved food-safe material.
Bought in bulk, vacuum sealed fresh tomatoes
The USV20 is made to create a maximum level of vacuum when sealing all types of food but also excels at effectively vacuum sealing any liquid or liquid-rich food. Everything from your Sous Weed cannabis infusions, soups, sauces, and marinades to your favorite infused cocktail. Vacuum sealing will also prevent freezer burns, keeping the flavor and texture of your food.
Before you start prepping your meals, take a moment to plan out the menu for the week. This will help you avoid overspending on groceries and ensure that you have all the ingredients you need. Look for recipes that can be easily frozen, such as soups, smoothies, stews, and casseroles.
Ribeye and steamed broccoli packaged up and ready for the freezer
Fish collars are less expensive but are way more flavorful and packed with fat and collagen
Buy in Bulk
Costco has been my best friend. Buying in bulk is often more cost-effective than buying individual items. For example, if you plan to make a lot of chicken dishes, buy a whole chicken instead of individual chicken breasts. I can make many, many meals from a $4.99 Costco rotisserie chicken.
Cook in Bulk
Once you have all your ingredients, start cooking in bulk. Utilizing your sous vide machine is great for this. Make larger portions of your meals and freeze the leftovers in individual portions. Our lunches are always quick and easy—we’ll take out a pre-portioned meal to reheat.
Label and date your pre-portioned meals Freeze ingredients in cubes for modular storage and easy access
Label and Date Your Meals
Labeling and dating your meals will help you keep track of what you have in your freezer and when you made it. This will help you avoid wasting food and ensure that you're eating your tasty meals before they expire.
Use Your Freezer Efficiently
To make the most of your freezer space, stack your meals in a neat and organized way. I freeze fruit juices and broth in ice cube trays and save them in freezer bags for easy access. You can also use bags to store soups and stews flat, which saves space and makes them easier to stack.
Designate a Leftover Day
Some of us tend to overstock our refrigerators (*me*) with too many items, forgetting about some of the older or unused items at the back. Once a week, designate a day to eat your leftovers, take stock of the ingredients you have, and plan future meals.
Freezer drawer filled with fruits and vegetables
Sample Meal Planning for the Week
- A croissant and coffee for my husband
- Toast, eggs, and fruit for my son and me
- Pre-portioned meal (from the freezer) and a fresh salad
- Monday - Curry night (we rotate through Indian, Malaysian, Thai, and Japanese) with rice or roti
- Tuesday - Noodles or pasta
- Wednesday - Soup or stew
- Thursday - Stirfry night
- Friday - Takeout or delivery (mama gets a break!)
- Saturday - Homemade pizza or pastries
- Sunday - Leftover day
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