In my household, there are two of us, not six. However, one thing I learned from my mom is that you can save a ton of time and money by making large batches of food. Whether you save it for leftovers or freeze it for next week, there are quite a few benefits to cooking 2-3 times the amount you actually need for one meal.
Buy (and cook) in bulk
When we need chicken or ground beef for dinner, I cook a couple extra breasts or an extra pound of ground beef because we’ll likely use it later in the week. We’ll have grilled chicken for BBQ chicken pizza and use extra cooked chicken for quesadillas or chicken caesar salad later in the week. It saves a lot of time from having to defrost and cook a piece of chicken every time we need it.
As for other bulk items, a dozen hardboiled eggs make a great nutrition-packed addition to our packed lunches (did you know you can save $2-3k per year just by packing your lunch instead of eating out?!). I’ll cut up a 2lb bag of carrots, a few bell peppers and a head of cauliflower or broccoli Sunday evening and it makes packing lunches during the week a breeze. Open a few cans of tuna then mix in mayo, hard boiled eggs, and pepper to get a couple days worth of tuna salad or sandwiches. I could go on and on with examples. You’ll find a lot more of them at my site, Budget for Health.
Produce stays fresh
What if you only have time to do a grocery run once a week? By the end of the week some of the produce you bought is looking a little sad and may get tossed out (aka money thrown out). Making a big batch of baked penne with roasted vegetables (peppers, onions, mushrooms, & zucchini) over the weekend lets me use up a lot of produce early in the week and I can freeze the dish until I’m ready to throw it in the oven. No mess from dirtying dishes, no effort put into cooking on a weeknight, no spoiled produce to throw away.
Avoid spontaneous eating out
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I mention this quote a lot to my clients. If you have 2-3 meals in large quantities already prepared, it can lessen the temptation to just order pizza or swing by the fast food drive through on your way home.
Cook less per week
Not everyone has the time or energy to cook a meal every night of the week without relying on some form of sodium-filled, processed convenience food item. If I make a big batch of my baked penne for dinner, I’ll pack some leftovers in our lunch for the next day and there’s enough left for dinner the next night. It’s enough food so you don’t get sick of having the same thing 4 nights in a row but it lasts you through more than just one meal.
What meals/food items do you prepare in bulk?
This has been a guest post from Jessica. She is a Registered Dietitian and shares practical, useful tips on food, fitness, and finance. Be sure to subscribe to her blog, Budget For Health.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.