How Doing a Weekly Food Prep Can Save Money on Dining Out

Quick, inexpensive entrée

Start by throwing together a simple dish like spaghetti or another pasta. Easy dishes like tacos, burritos, stir-fry, beans, and cornbread, chili and casseroles are also good. Here’s my favorite extra spicy noodle dish that’s simple to make. Hate to cook? Search online for easy-to-prepare meals.

Boiled eggs

You can eat boiled eggs for breakfast, lunch or a snack and add them to salads. For a change of pace, whip up some deviled eggs.

Baked potatoes

Store in the refrigerator to top with butter, sour cream or veggies.

Prepared veggies

Cut up celery, carrots, peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower. You can store in containers in the fridge and snack on them all week long with a tasty dip. You can also stuff celery with peanut butter or cream cheese.

Rotisserie chicken

Grocery stores frequently put rotisserie chickens on sale. You can eat chicken for lunch, make a sandwich, barbecue, add the meat to a salad, put it in tacos or even make chicken salad.

Fruit

Fruit can be expensive, so consult grocery circulars for the best deals. Discount grocers like Aldi sometimes have watermelons for $3 to $5 and cantaloupe for $1. Bananas are cheap, and a bag of apples goes a long way. Wash and cut up melon, berries or other fruit that stores well in the refrigerator.

Salad

Make your own salad with lettuce, pasta and other items you want to add. You can even buy salads in a bag that already have salad dressing and other ingredients in separate packets, which is sometimes less expensive than buying individual ingredients. Don’t forget tuna, macaroni and chicken salads, which are also easy to prepare.

Rice

You won’t find many foods cheaper than rice. You can add chicken, eggs, or fresh or frozen veggies. For an upgrade, add frozen peas or another vegetable and a little butter to Seeds of Change rice, a yummy luxury you can find at Costco, Walmart, and Target that takes only 90 seconds to microwave.

Soup

Cook a big pot of soup and freeze portions for future weeks. If you’re not a cook, watch grocery sale ads for deals on canned soup.

Snack mix

Mix raisins or other dried fruit, M & Ms, pretzels, nuts and whatever else you’d like to toss in. Then bag up individual portions for mid-day snacks.

Cereal

Add milk, and you’ve got a fast, healthy breakfast. You can eat cereal for other meals too. Supplement with fruit in the bowl or on the side.

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