Is your family on a budget? Or are you looking at your grocery bill and wondering if it’s possible to cut back without sacrificing all your favourite foods? If you answered yes, keep reading, because we’ve got some tips for you!
In this blog, we’ll pick up where we left off in our previous article, How to fit healthy meals into your family’s budget and talk more about grocery savings, storing leftovers, and meal planning to reduce waste. Because we 100% believe you can do weight loss meal plans, save time, AND save money.
Jump ahead to read more:
- The dark side of meal delivery services
- Meal delivery isn’t just expensive, it’s not family-friendly
- Weight loss meal plans are the perfect mix of DIY and done for you
- Save money with your weight loss meal plan
- How to plan out your meals to reduce waste
- How to safely store and reheat leftovers
- Shop your pantry to save money
- What will you do with all the money you save?
- Save money on our weight loss meal plans
The dark side of meal delivery services
Over the last few years, we’ve seen the rise in popularity of meal delivery services. Maybe you’ve even tried these services once or twice yourself? If so, we totally don’t blame you. There’s a lot to love about them for a busy mum. They’re so easy and convenient to make. And many of them are actually pretty healthy, especially if you make the recipe yourself from fresh ingredients at home.
But for the everyday family, meal delivery and food subscription boxes aren’t a realistic long-term option for weight loss meal planning because regardless of their actual health/nutrition content, they’re just too expensive.
Leading brands are priced at around $9 per meal and the costs can really add up for larger families. If you need to order 5 dinners per week for a family of 4, this works out to be $180. And the bigger your family, the more your price increases. Plus, most people who get meal delivery services only consider meal planning for their dinner meal. What about lunch, breakfast, and snacks?
Meal delivery isn’t just expensive, it’s not family-friendly
A survey found that most meal delivery services don’t cater that well to families with young kids. The foods might look and taste great to parents, but it’s a different story for kids. When you cook at home and plan your family’s meal, you’ll often make little tweaks here and there to make sure your kids will eat the food. Tweaks like:
- Toning down the spices
- Keeping things separate (because it’s the end of the world if the sauce touches the pasta)
- Serving up appropriate portion sizes for kids
- Avoiding foods or ingredients that are an ‘acquired taste’
But if you get a meal delivery service, you’ll find yourself making toast for the kids (again) just so they’ll eat something for dinner. Meanwhile, the pricey meal you ordered for them ends up in the bin.
Luckily, there’s a better way to meal-plan that’s cheaper, family-friendly, and covers ALL your meals. And with the right tools, it’s still really convenient and achievable for busy mums! Yep, weight loss meal plans!
Weight loss meal plans are the perfect mix of DIY and done for you
Mums have a LOT on their plate these days (talking about life in general, not necessarily the dinner plate!). But that doesn’t mean they have to turn to a meal delivery service, especially if it’s outside of their budget. Meal planning can be both convenient and affordable when it’s done right. And a good weight loss meal plan is the perfect mix of DIY (budget win!) and done-for-you (convenience win). It’s all about balance, baby!
Because the hardest part for many mums is doing the planning itself. Figuring out what to make (food that’s healthy AND the kids will eat), sourcing recipes, listing out the ingredients, and so on. With a weight loss meal plan like the ones we create at The Healthy Mummy, this whole process is so streamlined and quick! It’s basically done for you. All you have to do is shop, cook, and eat. Plus, it’s really budget-friendly, especially if you plan ahead and shop smart!
Save money with your weight loss meal plan
How is that some mums spend under $100 per week on groceries and food, while others spend $300+? It’s all about making the right choices. Here’s how to make your weight loss meal plan super-affordable:
- Plan quick meals or meal prepping so you can avoid takeaway on busy nights
- Plan for leftovers so you cook less and buy fewer ingredients
- Choose a weight loss meal plan and recipes that are budget-friendly
- Avoid expensive ingredients (like meat-heavy meals)
- Avoid processed and packaged foods as much as possible
- Shop your pantry (we’ll talk more about that in a bit!)
- Shop at budget-friendly shops, discount stores, and markets
- Bulk buy pantry staples
- Don’t buy too many perishable ingredients that won’t get used in time
How to plan out your meals to reduce waste
Food waste isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s also an opportunity to see how you can plan better to save more money.
When you write up your weight loss meal plan, think about timing. Some of your ingredients will last for weeks or months. Others (especially meat, dairy, and fresh fruit/veg) will need to be eaten within a few days after you shop. So, structure your weight loss meal plan to use up those foods first.
Another thing to consider is quantities. Do you find yourself throwing a particular type of food out on a regular basis? Maybe you can buy a smaller portion of it next time. And if you make too much food, plan to use the extra serves as leftovers or freeze it for later. There’s no need to throw perfectly good food in the bin!
How to safely store and reheat leftovers
Leftovers are the best. Not only does food often taste better the second night, but it’s also a welcome holiday from your kitchen with less cooking and washing up to do. And because you don’t have to buy another set of ingredients to cook the second time, it’s so good for your budget.
When you have leftovers, it’s important to be careful about how you store and then reheat them to make sure they’re safe to eat. Here are some tips:
- Don’t leave food out for too long after cooking
- Try to bring your food down to a “safe” temperature quickly (less than 5° Celsius)
- Split up your food into small or shallow containers to help it cool more rapidly
- Don’t overload your fridge or freezer to ensure enough cool air circulation
- Don’t leave leftovers in your fridge for more than 3-4 days
- If you want to enjoy your leftovers in a week or so, pop them in the freezer
- Don’t re-freeze frozen foods
- Try to eat frozen foods within 1-3 months after freezing so the quality doesn’t deteriorate (make a note in your weight loss meal plan so you don’t forget!)
- Reheat your food using the stove, microwave, or oven – depending on the type of food
- If you use your microwave, make sure you stir or rearrange the food part-way through and leave it to stand for 1min after heating
- Reheat foods to a “safe” internal temperature (60° Celsius or hotter) – you don’t need a thermometer – just make sure it’s steaming hot
Now you can confidently enjoy those leftovers knowing they should be safe to eat!
Shop your pantry to save money
One of our favourite ways to get inspiration for our weight loss meal plan is to shop our pantry. Here’s why you’ll love shopping your pantry:
- You’ll get back space when you use up what’s already in your home
- You’ll save money because you avoid buying more stuff!
Set aside a few minutes to do your “shop” and look for things like:
- Vegetables you can sneak into dishes
- Rices, lentils, and pastas to use with curries and sauce dishes
- Tins and jars
And while you’re at it, you can bin anything that’s out of date or that won’t fit into your weight loss meal plan (aka processed, sugary stuff!). Anything that’s still good to eat but doesn’t fit your diet doesn’t need to go in the bin. See if you have any local organisations that accept food donations so your unwanted foods stay out of the landfill.
What will you do with all the money you save?
Losing weight is about more than having a good weight loss meal plan. It’s about having a vision and goals for what you want your ideal life to look like. So why not extend this vision to other ways you can benefit? Think about the extra money you’ll save each week when you stick to an affordable meal plan. And think about how you’ll use that money. Maybe you could:
- Put more money towards your mortgage or deposit
- A night away with your partner
- Savings for emergencies
- A new outfit
- Upgrading your bed or mattress
- A gym membership
- Hiring a cleaner once a fortnight to take the pressure off
Use this as fuel to your fire to help you get started with your weight loss meal plan and stick to it.
Save money on our weight loss meal plans
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