There are a few things in life that really make me happy to my core. Like that lasting, slow-release happiness that takes work and effort and sweat and tears, but makes you raise a glass of wine at the end of the night feeling like you truly deserved it.
One of these things is staying healthy through eating and exercise. For today, I’m only gonna focus on the food part, but I do want to do posts surrounding exercising and staying healthy on a tight budget.
HOW MUCH DO WE SPEND
Dinner for 2 (very hungry) people for 4 nights a week:
Cost of all ingredients: £18-£30
Cost of a huge, healthy dinner and a glass or two of boxed red wine per night: £2.25-£3.75, so an average of £3.
(The variation really depends on if we need to buy extra stuff like spices and oils which normally last a couple months!)
(Btw – we buy the £15.90 boxed red wine from Tesco online groceries. It lasts us all week and often into the weekend and contains 4 bottles worth of wine.)
MEAL PREPPING ISN’T JUST FOR FITSPO’S
Meal prepping saves you from coming home, exhausted and ordering a pizza or cooking something less-than-spectacular for your body. It takes about 1-2 hours on a Sunday or Monday night and gives you your evenings back after a long day of pretending to care about spreadsheets that mean nothing to you.
Now, if I was eating spaghetti noodles and hot dogs for dinner every night I could definitely cut my grocery bill down, but I’m going to get out of debt the right way. I’m not going to sacrifice my health to save my finances because you do not have to. You have to plan, yes. You have to put an ounce or two of thought into it, yes. It helps to enjoy eating the same meal for four nights a week, yes.
You GET TO
- learn how to or improve your cooking
- try new recipes with fruits and veg you might not have even heard of
- researching healthy and beautiful food
- feel more awake throughout your day
- feel like you are in charge of your money and your diet and your body
HOW MUCH SHOULD I MAKE
You miiiight have to play around with the recipes. When my boyfriend and I started meal prepping we often made way too much or just too little. We’re pretty good at it now and rotate making about 4 or 5 recipes throughout our weeks!
We usually make enough for 2 people for four days, so that’s 8 meals. I feel like the fruits and veggies here go bad more quickly than in the US (kind of terrifying that there is a difference) so I think by the 5th day the foods a bit mushy…and it’s nice to have something different on a Friday night.
DON’T YOU GET BORED EATING THE SAME THING FOR FOUR DAYS
Simply, no. I don’t and neither does he. We try to make food that tastes really, really good. These are things I’d never whip up on a Wednesday after work because I am starving by 8 and these recipes take an hour or two all the way through. So actually I think I enjoy my meals more than the days when I’d come home and make some sautéed veggies and chicken because it was all I could muster up the effort for.
Simple, but well prepared food. It never gets old.
STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL MEAL PREPPING
- Find a recipe you’re excited about. This is a big, big part of the process. You don’t want to spend all this time and effort cooking something you could make for yourself in 10 minutes! I’ve included 3 of my favourite recipes at the bottom of this page. Usually recipes are for 4-6 people so I normally just double them.
- Make sure you’ve got the tools!
- You’ll need 2 large food storage containers for 2 people (probably more for 4+ people)
- You’ll need pots/pans/utensils/etc. that can handle the quantities you’re cooking (whether that is several small ones, or a couple big ones)
- Ingredients!! Check what you have in your kitchen BEFORE going shopping. Or, if you order groceries online, check while you shop.
- Give yourself 1-2 hours
- I love cooking on a Sunday or Monday night with my boyfriend. We listen to music, we chop, we drink some boxed red wine and we take our time cooking the meal. If you aren’t a huge fan of cooking, it helps to have a buddy or to have your favourite music and wine as buddies! Just make sure you set aside the time to do it, no matter what day is best for you.
- Cook, cook, cook! It’s really pretty simple. Cook the food, store it, and then reheat it throughout the week. As time goes on it gets easier, I barely ever have to reference my favourite recipes anymore and we get excited to choose what we’re gonna eat that week.
I will continue to update you will recipes we love that are good for reheating and cost efficient. We always eat spinach alongside these recipes for an extra boost of vitamins and for some fresh texture.
MY FAVOURITE RECIPES FOR MEAL PREPPING
By the way – we are vegan so all of these recipes are too!
- I only use one baggie/can of lentils in this recipe and I use 3 normal cartons of mushrooms to replace them. Too many lentils can wreak havoc.
- I use 5 aubergines and 2 onions – this is hands down the easiest recipe to make, especially if you use easygarlic.
- Chili! If you don’t like reheating rice, you can make some each night before reheating the chili. We use our slow-cooker for this but you can easily make it in a large pot. Definitely the cheapest thing to make and LOADED with veggies.