By planning ahead, or even making meals in advance and freezing extra for later, you can buy pricier ingredients like meat, seafood and cheese in discounted bulk quantities.
Working from a shopping list means you're more likely to avoid impulse buys and by using coupons, you'll see big savings on your grocery bill.
Meal planning made easy
You could make a meal plan the old fashioned way with paper and pen. But why not save time and hassle with an online meal planning tool?
CanadianLiving.com's free Meal Planner makes planning meals for the week – or, heck, even for a month or more – a breeze. Just log into your MyCL account, then click on My Meal Planner. Pick the day you want to plan for, and the Meal Planner will pull up a meal-by-meal week at a glance. You can start filling in your meals by
• typing in the name of your own recipes; or
• selecting recipes you've previously saved to your MyCL My Recipe Box feature; or
• picking recipes from the thousands available on CanadianLiving.com. (This is a great way to find inspiration after you browse the weekly grocery circular and discover great deals, on, say, wild salmon, chicken drumsticks and local asparagus.)
Print off your Meal Planner and post it on your fridge, so meals are on track no matter whose night it is to cook!
Don't be list-less
Having a shopping list makes it easier to stay on target (and budget) whether at the supermarket or the farmer's market. My Meal Planner generates grocery lists as you go, and gives you the option of printing them by the week for a big shopping expedition, or by the day if you're shopping for a special dinner, for instance.
Shopping lists make it easy to scout online for supermarket and manufacturer coupons before you head to the store. If you spend a few minutes clipping coupons from local flyers and scouting coupon sites online, you'll see big savings on your grocery receipt.
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Healthy body, healthy wallet
Another benefit of meal planning is that it minimizes impulse buys (such as high-calorie, high-sodium and high-fat convenience foods) and encourages you to really think about what you’re eating – which means you're bound to make healthier diet choices.
Healthier choices can often trim your budget as well as your waistline.
• High-fibre, high-protein, heart-smart beans cost practically pennies per meal. A glance at your Meal Planner will remind you to soak dry ones the night before. (They're cheaper than canned and you control the amount of sodium.)
• Trade heat-and-serve entrees for meals from scratch and the savings will mean you can splurge on better quality meat while cutting the amount of sodium and calories in your meals. The less processed your meat is, the less it will cost.
• Meal planning ensures you use those veggies you'd otherwise forget at the back of the crisper. Or, swap fresh for frozen, which are flash frozen at the peak of freshness and last for months, not mere days.
Upshot: better food at a better price.
Are you ready to start eating well while saving money, reducing waste and improving your family's diet?
Log into your MyCL account and head over to My Meal Planner. After that, you'll be able to plan once – and eat well all week!
• 20 meals in under 300 calories - ready in 30 minutes
• Burn calories faster
• The top 8 things you're wasting your calories on
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