If you have SNAP benefits you are always trying to find ways to make those benefits stretch. This is especially true if you have a large family or a family member with high food expenses such as a newborn or toddler on formula. You may have already run through your ideas on how to make those food benefits stretch. If you have or if you are new to budgeting SNAP benefits, here are a few ideas for your next meal plan, menu planning day, or meal preparation.
Freezer cooking is a great way to purchase in bulk and use the benefit of bulk buying in a productive way. Here’s how it works. Create meal plans or menu ideas with each type of meat. Let’s use hamburger as an example. You can make pasta dishes, shepards pie, hamburgers, tacos and soups with hamburger. If you do one meal of each you can create 5 meals. Now, do the same with chicken, fish, pork, and vegetables. Each item has at least 5 meal options if not more. List each meal and the ingredients needed for each. Create your shopping list and go. Now, all you do is take one day to create or prepare each meal. Place the meals into freezer safe storage options and on the day you want to make the meal take it out and heat it up. It is easy and will help stretch the benefits.
If you haven’t used a crock pot before, consider it now. Crock pot cooking is one of the best ways to stretch your SNAP benefits. Create a menu plan for your crock pot meals and either use freezer cooking to prepare them ahead of time or throw them together each morning. If you have no ideas for crock pot meals, take a look at our site and sites like Pinterest. There are hundreds of ideas that can help you stretch your money.
A popular concept in frugal or budgeted cooking is creating a meatless meal night. This can be a soup, stew, stir fry, or similar option. The meatless option is a great way to save some money since buying fresh vegetables can be very cheap. The meals are usually easy and quick to prepare and it will introduce fresh foods into your family’s daily diet. In fact, you may use this as a way to introduce children to new vegetables a little at a time.
Menu planning and meal planning are incorporated into most family’s budgeting methods. Remember to plan out your meals first and the rest will fall into place. By planning out your meals, following store sales, using BOGO items, and buying in bulk you can make your SNAP benefits stretch a lot further. Also comparison shop your prices. Just because a price looks good, it doesn’t mean it is the better deal. Make sure you are using everything you have at your disposal and you take advantage of larger meals that can stretch into lunch the next day.