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Ten Tips for Planning Your Meals on A Budget

Here are 10 tips to help you get started

Plan your menu. You will decide which dishes you will prepare for lunch and dinner. Next, you will have to make a grocery list. A plan will make it less likely that you'll eat out or buy convenience foods. Here are some tips to help you plan your menu.

You can plan your meals around the sale foods. You can find coupons online, in newspaper inserts, and in store flyers. There are many good deals available. Make sure you only purchase and plan for food that you will use.

At least one non-meat meal should be planned each week. Great tasting protein at a reasonable price can be found in legumes (beans and lentils, dried beans, peas), eggs as well peanut butter, canned fish, and tofu. These are some delicious meatless recipes: Black Bean Couscous, Egg Bhurji and Sweet Chili Tofu stir-fry.

Take a look at your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Take a look at the expiry dates for the food and ingredients that you already have. Which ones are still good? Find recipes that make use of these foods and ingredients.

You should eat grains more often. It's easy to use grains such as couscous and pasta, or barley, in many different dishes. You can use them in soups and stews as well as salads such a Chicken Bulgur Salad.

Avoid recipes that call for a particular ingredient. Some recipes require a specific ingredient you might not have. How much does this ingredient cost? What size package does it come in? It can you use it in any other recipes? It might not be worth spending money on an ingredient if it is only used once. Use an ingredient that is already in your kitchen or leave it out. It's fun and exciting to try new things while cooking. You may be surprised by the end result.

Consider seasonal recipes. When they are in season, vegetables and fruit are usually cheaper.

You can make the most of leftovers. You can always use leftovers. Make chicken sandwiches for Monday. For example, if you prepare roast chicken with rice and veggies for Sunday's supper then you can make chicken sandwiches for Monday. You can use the bones for a chicken soup, and you can toss in any vegetables or rice leftovers.

Keep extras. Don't waste a large amount of celery and carrots. You can make a large pot of soup from it all. You can make two batches of lasagna, if ground beef is available at a discount. One batch can be used for dinner; the second batch can be frozen in portioned portions for later use.

It is important to know what your family enjoys eating. Invite your family to share their favorites and assist with menu planning. You can then search for the best ingredients and food when they go on sale.