As I settled into this week’s menu planning with meal journal (and pen and white-out –always have white out) in hand, my very own Meal Prep tips were fresh at my fingertips. I promise, blogosphere, I practice what I write. Focusing on The Big Picture and my most favorite cost-saving tip, Overlapping Ingredients, I put together a stellar meal lineup that I can’t wait to dig my fork into.
If you’re staring at your empty meal journal wondering where in the world to begin, I’ve got your back… and your belly 😉
I typically start with one meal, a meal that encompasses all the vibes I’m feelin’ for the week ahead, and build out my menu from there. (Tip: Keep it manageable by planning 2-3 options per meal and alternating throughout the week for a menu that boasts nutritional variety and totally satisfies the palate.) This week, with a comfort-food-beckoning cold front sweeping in, that recipe was Tone It Up‘s “Fall in Love” Kale Salad from the #TIU31 challenge. The rich, fall-inspired ingredients called my name like a warm, cozy melody as frost crept up around my window panes.
This Kale Salad (consult the TIU Nutrition Plan for full recipe) gets its flavor from speciality ingredients like dried cranberries and toasted pecans, that, while über tasty, come with a high(er) price tag. Determined to stick to my $50/week grocery budget this month, I set out on a mission to incorporate these ingredients into other meals as much as possible.
Enter Overlapping Ingredients – I admittedly geek-out #fitgirl style over the challenge of reinventing ingredients in different meals (and totally slayed this week if I do say so myself). From M1-M5, each of my meals feature at least one overlap, depicted in the chart below, and my receipt came to $47.62!!! A major win thanks to serious strategy and my main man, Trader Joe.
Eating is most definitely one of my top 3 favorite activities (it’s up there with lifting booty and napping), and I have developed quite the enthusiasm for constructing new and exciting menus to fuel my healthy lifestyle. Meal prep is a hobby, right?!