How To Make A Week's Worth Of Meals & Save Money

by Isadora Baum, CHC

Going to the grocery store can be a pain, and it can be hard to find enough time and money to keep stocking up throughout the week. Thus, purchasing foods that make for a week's worth of meals can be really helpful in planning out meals, reducing trips to the grocery store, and saving money by eating leftovers and making the most of each ingredient. In the article above, Keri Glassman, R.D., lists her top favorite meals to make during the week, and they look delicious!

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on maximizing their food, avoiding waste and simplifying their grocery store travel, stress, and meal planning. Eating healthy might seem like a chore; yet, with the right mindset, preparation and helpful hints to making the process simpler and more time efficient, it can be quite easy and enjoyable to find nutritious foods to nourish the body each day and be able to save money and food waste in the process. Plus, eating your own food is great for your health, as you know all the additives and ingredients in recipes (as opposed to eating out at a restaurant), and it can help reduce spending (dining out certainly adds up!). Here are 11 foods that can make for a week's worth of delicious, filling meals.

1. Pancake Mix

“Pancake mix is secretly a very versatile food. With a little water, you have the base for everything from pizza and fried shrimp to carrot cake and banana bread," Birch Benders co-founder and CEO Matt LaCasse over email with Bustle. "My favorite recipes throughout the week are breakfast pancakes, turkey and cheese pancakes, and chicken salad waffle sandwiches. You can also whip up a batch of pancakes or waffles and reheat them for any meal, think breakfast for dinner, or send them with the kids to school with a side of peanut butter, maple syrup or honey," LaCasse recommends.

2. "Healthy" Comfort Food Classics

Such classics, like pizza and mac n' cheese, are great for storage and for cooking in bulk, advises Lauren Padula, Doctor of Physical Therapy, running coach, and RYT-200 yoga teacher, over email with Bustle. "Although I don't have Celiac's disease, I do prefer to keep my diet primarily gluten free. That's why two of my favorite brands are Annie's Homegrown and Bob's Red Mill. Not only do they both make some serious comfort food options, but they also make plenty of options that are friendly to people with dietary restrictions," Padula says. "To beef up the nutrients, I'll pair pizza with a side salad full of greens, or add chopped veggies to my mac and cheese," she adds.

3. Bone Broth

Over email with Bustle, Sharon Brown, founder of Bonafide Provisions & author of Healing Bone Broth Recipes says “bone broth can be used as a base for soups, smoothies, stews and sauces, or in place of water in rice and pasta dishes to add additional nutrients. It also makes a fantastic alternative to coffee or tea. Additionally, bone broth can be incorporated into dozens of meals, including healing breakfasts, nourishing sides and starters, soups, comfort foods and delicious main dishes,” she adds.

4. Hearty Grains

Over email with Bustle, Mathieu Senard, co-founder and co-CEO at Alter Eco says that “quinoa is a versatile superfood that’s perfect for eating morning, noon and night, and can be cooked in batches for leftovers that will last three to four days." It's very versatile; "from adding to breakfast omelets, topping lunch salads, throwing in an afternoon parfait, or simply eating as a side dish for dinner, quinoa can be used in any dish ranging from savory to sweet. Plus, it’s a great gluten-free and protein-rich grain that boasts fiber and other benefits that will keep you fueled all week long," he explains.

5. Hard Boiled Eggs

In interview with Bustle, Dr. Zelana Montminy, Suja’s Health and Wellness Expert and author of 21 Days to Resilience, says that hard boiled eggs are great for having on hand and for prepping at the start of the week. "Keep a bowl of boiled eggs in the fridge; make them Sunday for the week," she says. "A great source for protein and other nutrients, they can make for breakfast on the go, chopped up for a quick and easy egg salad for lunch or tossed in a salad for dinner," she adds.

6. Lean Meats

Making lean meats, such as turkey or chicken, can last a week as long as "you don't overcook it, and leave a little structure so that when you reheat, it stays fresh" says running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer over email with Bustle. She says you can turn meats into salads (with a sauce), throw atop lettuce, add to sandwiches, throw into a soup, or use for a breakfast enchilada. It's so versatile!

7. Sauces & Dressings

Lemmer suggests making a great sauce. "Just about anything will last and be transformed for new recipes when you have a great sauce that you can add to the dish," she says. A sauce can be used for sandwich fillings (instead of typical mayo!), for soups, atop meats, as a dip for breads and chips, and to add different flavors to different ingredients during the week. Make a bunch to transform meals!

8. Canned Fish

Over email with Shape, registered dietitian Tina Ruggiero says that canned fish, such as tuna or salmon, is incredibly versatile and makes for a great brown-bag lunch, snack or dinner. Once opened, canned tuna can be eaten plain, as a salad, on top a salad, or stuffed inside a sandwich. Likewise, canned salmon tastes great in the same fashion, plus it can be tossed with eggs for breakfast! Canned fish is also rather inexpensive, which is always a bonus.

9. Beans

Over email with Bustle, Alicia Ward, VP of Marketing at Beanitos, says that beans make for an incredible, versatile food, as they can be eaten as chips for a snack, as a protein in a salad or patty, as a side mixed with vegetables or whole grains, and even as a dessert, made into brownies, perhaps. Plus, they tout many benefits: "Beans have a low glycemic index to prevent insulin from spiking, which can also keep your energy levels more constant. Beans also contain magnesium and iron, which help fight fatigue," says Ward.

By purchasing a few staples, which of the above also happen to be rather low in cost, you'll be able to create meals at home in bulk fashion so that you have pre-made plans for lunches, dinners and snacks for the rest of the week. Check to see how long certain foods last to plan accordingly, and have fun trying out some new recipes!

Images: Pixabay (10)