As bills from holiday spending or overspending start piling up, you may be looking at ways to save
money. Believe it or not, making
healthier eating choices can help your bottom line. Avoiding the “drive thru dinner trap” is a
great way to keep you eating healthy and making smarter financial decisions. No need to panic, with a little planning and
preparation you will be successful.
As I mentioned last month, I love a good deal but in order
to save money and make good eating choices you need to first, TOSS THE COUPONS.
You know the ones I am talking about, “Buy
a large pizza and get free breadsticks” or “Get a free drink with your purchase
of a burger and fries.” When eating out,
you and your family are more likely to overeat and overspend (those .99
add on items add up) when a healthier, less expensive meal can be found in your
Second, PLANNING. The
biggest contributor to successfully avoiding the drive thru lane is planning. Schedule
meals for a week or month at a time. If it’s
going to be a busy day and not much time to prep your food, plan a slow cooker
meal that you have frozen ahead of time or pack something to have on the go. Time Saver: If cooking some protein, plan two
meals to utilize it. For example, lean
ground beef for taco salad, season half, then use remaining for taco soup or
lasagna roll ups. Grilled chicken can be used atop a salad, then added to stock
for chicken noodle soup. If lunch time
is the culprit, try these 90 no heat lunch ideas here. Keep in mind with drive thru meals, you typically
don’t end up with left overs. You either
eat it all or toss it. Planning makes your
dollar stretch much farther.
Third, FREEZER MEALS.
Once you have planned out the weekly or monthly menu, identify meals
that could be prepared, then frozen. When
cooking the meals, make a double batch and freeze in either single serving
portions or enough for your family. Then when time is short or you’re too
exhausted to cook, you’ll know you have a quick healthy meal ready for you at
home. (Find 20 make ahead meals here,
or unprocessed meals here.)
Fourth, keep an EMERGENCY “storage” in your car, bag or at
your desk. This can be something you
replenish daily or food that could last for the week. If you’re feeling really ravenous, grab a
quality granola bar or fruit leather from the glove box. This can satiate you enough to get home for
dinner and make finding a drive thru less appealing, when you have a good snack
to tide you over.
Lastly, keep some HEALTHY SNACKS and quick meals at home. If it’s late at night, you don’t have to grab
a Dollar Menu sandwich. Keep your money
in your wallet and come home for a smaller, yet nutritious meal. This could be anything from nuts, low fat
cheese, whole grain bread and of course fruits and vegetables. Make sure to pair a protein with a fiber and
you’ve got a meal that can sustain you until breakfast. Find some ideas here.