Eating healthy can be extremely hard on food stamps. But if you plan ahead, and prepare your meals ahead of time you can make it work. With these easy tips you can start planning and preparing your family’s meals to ensure healthy diets on a food stamps budget.
Dedicate Some Time Each Month
Before the beginning of each month and each new renewal of food stamps, set aside some time to plan out your meals. This may take a couple of hours, and will require some focus and thinking, but as long as you set aside some time before you actually need to go shop, it will be a much more productive process. Otherwise, you’ll be stressed to make a quick list, and you’ll have a hard time planning and staying on track when under pressure.
Know Your Weekly Schedule
Part of the planning process is knowing your family’s schedule and figuring out how to plan meals around it. If you know you have a busy afternoon and don’t have a lot of time to make dinner one day, this would be a great time to plan ahead and prepare a crockpot meal in the morning, or something light like that. Meal planning can help you get organized and can save you time throughout the month.
Create Monthly and Weekly Shopping Lists
When planning gout your meals, it helps to make several lists. You will first want to create one full list of everything you will need. But then it helps to divide the list into categories. One section will be the monthly list, which will contain the items you can buy in wholesale all at once, like frozen and non-perishable items. Then, you will want to make four extra lists, one for each week. Each of these weekly lists will be quite small, and will likely just contain items that go bad more quickly, like dairy, produce and meat. By planning ahead, and buying things as you need them per demand of your lists, you will get the most of your food, and prevent things from going bad before getting the chance to use them.
Choose Healthy and Cheap Items
The most important thing to remember when trying to eat and plan healthy meals on a food stamps budget is making the best decisions with your limited food stamps. Spend your food stamps wisely by buying in bulk, and buying items that are healthy, and will sustain your family. While you can purchase candy, junk food, and soda pop, these items will not keep your family full and satisfied. Instead, limit or exclude these types of items from your grocery shopping list and compare prices on the healthy items your family actually needs to get the best prices. Don’t be afraid to try coupons as well! They can help you cut the price, and stretch your food stamps to make them go farther.
Prepare the Meals You Can
While it can be hard to complete a full meal plan and prepare these meals for your family all at once, you can set aside a few meals each week. Every Sunday before the week starts, you can make some of your meals ahead of time, and freeze them so they are easy to heat up when needed. This will save you time, and will keep your food fresh.
Meal planning can take a bit of work, but it is a great way to save you money and food stamps, and help you feed your family with a healthy, sustainable diet.