How to plan food on a tight budget

Getting started making a plan for a week's worth of
meals can surely be a bit daunting at first. It
need not be complicated--though a little bit of
time spent planning will be well worth it!

A good way to start is by looking at what you already
have on hand -- sort of taking a visual inventory.

Next,it's helpful to list on a piece of paper, all the meals
for the coming week.
For example, list all the days, then Breakfast, Lunch,
Dinner, etc.

On this list of meals, write down a main dish and a couple
of side dishes that you want to make, keeping in mind what
staples are on hand in the cupboard and in the
freezer. Try to come up with as many meals as you
can with what you have on hand.

Remember to write down some of the extras you
think you might like to make during the coming week --
such as cookies, snacks or desserts.

Always keep the ads from the local grocery store
handy and plan meals around the weekly specials,
if possible. Don't just think about main dishes; if
bananas are on sale, make banana bread for snacks,
or lunches, for example.

While you are making your menu plan, think about what
will be happening in the next week. Is Friday night
Football Game Night? Plan to have a supper that is
quick to fix. Is Wednesday your day off? That is the
day you might want to try out a new recipe that takes
a little longer to prepare.

Whatever your schedule, plan your menus around it.
And be flexible! If it snows on Tuesday, and you hadn't
planned to make chili until Thursday, you can just switch the
menus around.

Keep your lists, so that in weeks to come, you can be
reminded of some meals your family especially liked
(or disliked!). After a few weeks, you will end up with a
set of weekly menus that you can use over and over.

With your plan in hand, you won't be tempted to
go for takeout because you just can't think of anything
to make for supper. And you won't get caught without
that "one ingredient" you need to make tonight's supper,
so no more last minute trips to the grocery store!

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