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Planning a Healthy Frugal Menu

It is easier and more efficient to plan your menus rather than cook whatever comes to mind. When you plan your menu out, it is easier to keep your meals balanced and healthy, and to plan for variety. Here are some tips that may help:

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You no doubt know which stores in your area have the best prices on food. Most stores send sale adds out, usually on Wednesdays and Sundays in my area. Sign up to get on the mailing list of the stores you frequent most, or if you can, subscribe to the newspaper or buy a newspaper on the day they send their sale ads out.

Go over the ads thoroughly. First check the foods you plan your meals around, whether meat, poultry, fish or veggies. Making the most economical choices comes first. See what is on sale, and look at seasonal foods too. Then plan for variety and nutrition.

Next, plan for ease of preparation and quick meals, if these are important to you. Other things you can plan for are making meals that provide leftovers for easy, quick meals later in the week. For example, when I make roast chicken, I know I will have leftover meat that can top a pizza, make sandwiches, or go into a casserole.

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One idea is to plan your weekend meals, when you have more time to cook, to provide leftovers for 2 or more weekday meals. If you have trouble planning the week out for variety and health, you can plan like this - 2 days of ground beef, 3 of poultry, 1 of fish, 1 of vegetarian, or whatever mix works for you.

You can even take it another step, and plan a complete menu to cover two weeks, a month, etc, then just repeat that menu for however long you like. A repeating month long menu shouldn't become too boring if it has plenty of variety.

Ways to add variety are to choose different meats, a large variety of veggies, to alternate potatoes, bread, rice, grain and pasta for your starch, and to choose recipes from a variety of cuisines. No doubt there are a lot more ways to spice things up (including using a variety of herbs and spices, lol).

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When I actually follow the advice I am giving, I do save money, and I actually make better meals. But I think I like most the fact that I don't even have to think about meals once I've planned them out. I put my menu on the fridge and follow it. I get the meat I want out of the freezer the day before, and know exactly what to do to get dinner on the table. So this saves me some time, too. I hope it helps some of you out there too.

By Free2B from North Royalton, OH

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November 10, 20110 found this helpful

Great advice! ~ Thanks for sharing.

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