Budget Meal Prep 14 Meals - Only $40

When it comes to meal prepping, the goal is simple: create delicious, nutritious meals that save time and money. But what if you could prepare 14 meals for just $40? It might sound too good to be true, but with careful planning and smart shopping, it’s entirely possible. Here’s a detailed guide to help you prep 14 meals without breaking the bank.

But first, here are some tips that you might find helpful, since you're going to prep the way that makes the most sense for you:

How Do I Plan My Meals to Stay Within Budget?

To plan your meals effectively, start by setting a budget for your groceries. Choose recipes that use affordable ingredients, and consider meals that can be made in large batches. Opt for seasonal produce, which is typically cheaper and fresher. Write out a meal plan for the week, ensuring you use ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes to avoid waste and maximize your budget.

Read more about Budget Meal Planning HERE

What Should I Look for When Grocery Shopping?

When grocery shopping on a budget, focus on buying whole, unprocessed foods like grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. These items are often cheaper and more nutritious. Check the unit prices to get the best deals, and avoid pre-packaged or convenience foods that come with a higher price tag. Stick to your shopping list to prevent impulse buys and stay within your budget.

The Ultimate Whole30 Whole Foods Grocery List

How Can I Make the Most of Sales and Discounts?

Keep an eye on weekly flyers and digital coupons from your favorite grocery stores. Plan your meals around items that are on sale. Buy in bulk when non-perishable items are discounted, and freeze any extra perishable items for later use. Loyalty programs and apps can also offer additional savings, so take advantage of these resources.

What Are Some Affordable Pantry Staples to Keep on Hand?

Having a well-stocked pantry with affordable staples can make meal prep easier and more budget-friendly. Some key items to keep on hand include:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Beans (canned or dried)
  • Lentils
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Oats
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Spices and herbs
  • Cooking oils

These staples can be used in a variety of recipes, helping you create diverse meals without overspending.

What Are the Best Strategies for Batch Cooking?

Batch cooking involves preparing large quantities of food at once, which can be portioned out for multiple meals. Choose recipes that freeze well, such as soups, stews, casseroles, and cooked grains. Invest in good quality storage containers to keep your meals fresh. Dedicate a specific day for meal prep, and cook multiple recipes at the same time to save on time and energy.

If you're new to meal prepping, you may want to look into Buffet Style Meal Prepping.

Buffet Style Meal Prepping: Whole30

What Are Some Tips for Cooking in Bulk?

When cooking in bulk, make sure to:

  • Use large pots and pans to accommodate bigger quantities.
  • Double or triple recipes that are easy to scale up.
  • Cook ingredients like rice, beans, and pasta separately, so they can be mixed and matched with different dishes.
  • Season dishes lightly when cooking, allowing for adjustments when reheating.

How Do I Track My Spending to Ensure I Stay on Budget?

Keep track of your grocery spending by saving receipts and noting down the costs in a budget tracker. There are many apps available that can help you categorize and monitor your expenses. Compare your spending against your budget regularly, and adjust your meal plans and shopping habits as needed to stay on track.

Pro Tip: Try using a Meal Planner to make a plan and get a shopping list together.

What Are Common Mistakes to Avoid in Budget Meal Prep?

Avoid these common pitfalls to ensure successful budget meal prep:

  • Buying in bulk without a plan, leading to food waste.
  • Ignoring sales and discounts.
  • Overcomplicating meals with expensive ingredients.
  • Not considering portion sizes and ending up with too little or too much food.
  • Failing to plan for leftovers, resulting in spoiled food.
  • Skipping meal prep altogether, leading to last-minute, expensive food purchases.

14 Meals for $40 - Full Meal Prep details

budget meal prep receipt food lion

Sheet Pan Protein Pancakes 3-ways (makes 6 breakfasts)

Pans: Goodcook 3-section Sheet pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 clamshell - Strawberries
  • 1 clamshell - Blueberries
  • 1 large - Banana

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Wash and cut your desired fruit
  3. Prepare the pancake mix, according to the box instructions
  4. Add pancake mix to the sheet pan
  5. Add fruit to the top of the pancake mix
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top of the pancake batter gets golden brown

Note: different sheet pan or baking dishes may have different cook times, please check your pancakes as they are cooking.

High-protein Chicken Taco Burritos (makes 8 burritos)

Pan: 10” HexClad style pan (treat yourself…it’s worth it!)

Ingredients:

  • 3lbs - Chicken breast
  • 4 cups - Basmati Rice, cooked
  • 8 tortillas (I use the 10”)
  • 2 packets - Taco seasoning
  • 1 can - Corn
  • 1 ea - Onion, yellow or white
  • 3 tablespoon -Garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Prep your ingredients (1” cubes of chicken and rough diced onion).
  2. Into a medium-high heat pan, add your minced garlin and chopped onion.
  3. Let that cook down until the onions are translucent
  4. While those are cooking down, season your chicken then add the chicken to your pan.
  5. Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes, until mostly cooked through.
  6. Then add corn and cooked rice (I used the pre-cooked Minute Rice cups to make life easier) and mix everything together.
  7. Let that cook for 3-5 more minutes, then remove from the heat.
  8. Once the mixture is cooled, add to your tortillas, wrap, and store.

If you want to get fancy, like me, brown the top and bottom of the burrito to help it stay wrapped when you go to reheat the burritos.

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