It’s time to shed the winter blues and embrace the warmer weather!
Spring and Summer call for lighter, cooler foods. This is also a great time of year because there is so much local produce available that you can use in your meals.
This means you can move away from the hearty comfort foods of winter and bring on the light, fresh meals of the warmer months. Think cold salads, fresh veggies, and meats grilled on the barbeque.
Meal planning can be a real time saver when you have a busy life or don’t have the energy to plan out a meal when you get home from a long day.
Here’s how you can embrace the warmer weather and stick to your meal plan, budget, and healthy lifestyle!
Sometimes farmers’ markets get this stigma that they are overly expensive. But when you follow the right tips and advice, you can enjoy fresh, local produce from farmers’ markets without blowing your budget.
Here are some essential ways you can stay budget-friendly at the farmers’ market:
Know what you want before you go. Don’t get distracted by the pretty produce that you’re not going to actually use, but go for things that you can incorporate in your meal plan.
Create a “farmers’ market budget” and stick to it.
Walk the entire market before you buy anything to compare prices. Sometimes you can find produce at different prices between stalls.
Talk to the vendor about discounts. Sometimes they’ll give discounts for shopping regularly, buying close to the end of the day, or in bulk.
Buying produce at farmers’ markets is also beneficial for your local economy, because more money gets put back into the community.
The more organized you are, the more you’re likely to stay on track with your summer meal plan.
Make a recipe binder, and pull out recipes with similar ingredients when you’re planning each week. Note the recipes that you’ve made in that past that you really enjoyed, and keep them on hand.
Keep an inventory of what’s in your fridge and freezer as well. Make note of anything you need to use up, and find recipes that incorporate those foods. This will also help to cut down on your grocery costs.
The minute you start to slip behind on your planning and organization is when you’ll start to struggle to keep on top of things.
Eggs and zucchini are both great produce you can find at the grocery store as well as at the farmers’ market.
Zucchini is a wonderful, versatile veggie you can use to cut down on the carbs of pastas, and it’s a fresh take on summer meals. Since you can make tons of different things with it, it’s perfect for meal planning because you can try something different every time you use it.
It also keeps well, so it’s perfect for making multiple meals at once and storing them in the fridge.
Here are some yummy spring and summer zucchini recipes you can try out this season.
Eggs are also as versatile as zucchini. You can use them in tons of recipes, for all meals of the day, in a variety of cooking styles. They also provide proteins and omega-3.
Hard boil a batch of eggs for the week. They make a perfect go-to snack. You can also cook and freeze them for easy microwaveable breakfasts on the go.
If you stick to a cultural theme for your meals, you’ll be able to utilize the same flavor palettes and ingredients in multiple meals. That means you will only have to buy a certain amount of items at the grocery store for that week.
For example, many Mexican foods utilize beans, salsa, and corn that can constitute a number of different types of dishes.
This also helps you stick to a weekly or monthly template, which can cut back on planning time.
If you eat the same dinner two or three nights in a row, you can get sick of those foods pretty quickly.
However, if you aim to use leftovers for lunch, you won’t even have to include lunches when you meal prep because it’ll already be ready. This is the basic principle of most successful meal plans, especially if you have to consider taking a lunch to school or work.
Even if you can only use part of your meal as lunch, it saves you that much of a hassle. For example, leftover chicken is perfect for tossing together in a fresh salad or in a wrap.
A great way to save on groceries for your meal plan is to check local flyers, circulars, and check out coupons for featured products.
Caddle helps you save even more by bringing you weekly rebate offers so you can earn cash back on your everyday purchases. Meal planning doesn’t need to break the bank when you can earn cash using just your smartphone!
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