4 Ways to Make a Meal Plan Without Spending a Fortune

By Top.me

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It’s crucial to eat the right type of foods in appropriate proportions to achieve a healthy body. Eating a variety of food groups such as fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, bread, nuts, and legumes provides the right nutrients and energy the body needs throughout the day. 

Making a meal plan may seem expensive because you have to choose the right healthy foods to reduce your risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes. But meal planning isn’t supposed to be hard on the pocket, as long as you know what foods are right for you and where to find them. 

Healthy meal in separate containers on the table

But sometimes, you need professional help to realize your goals. It’s worth working with health, fitness, and nutrition experts like 28bysamwood.com to help you attain overall health and fitness.

In this article, you’ll learn the various ways to make a meal plan without spending a fortune.

4 Ways to Make a Meal Plan

Determine Your Current Diet

It’s crucial to determine the composition of your existing diet before you can create a healthy meal plan. Many consumers are used to eating instant, packaged, and preserved foods because they’re cheap and easy to prepare. In addition, online meal delivery services make ready-to-eat foods more accessible, which can either help or ruin your diet as well as your budget.

As you analyze the existing foods in your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets, you also need to find out the following:

  • Budget: How much money do you set aside for your weekly grocery of food supplies?
  • Items: What type of food or cooking ingredients do you usually buy?
  • Time: How much time do you spend cooking? Or do you prefer quick meal preparation?

By answering these questions, you’ll have a clearer picture of your current meal preparation and eating habits, which will be your basis in checking your progress as you embrace healthier and more affordable meal planning options. 

Create a Meal Plan From Scratch 

A notepad with a mean plan on the table and a fork with apple and green plate next to it

Once you’ve identified your current meal preparation and eating habits, it’s time to create a meal plan from scratch by considering the following factors:

  • Special Needs: Are you allergic to any food? Lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and food allergy are just some of the special needs you need to consider when preparing food for your family. 
  • Food Sources: Do you have an existing garden where you can plant organic fruits and vegetables? You can also reach out to your local community farmers and cooperatives where you can source fresh and low-cost ingredients for your dishes. 
  • Nutritional Needs: Did your doctor suggest a specific diet to help regulate your blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels? Your medical and nutritional needs are essential factors that you need to consider before finalizing your meal plan to ensure you’re not compromising your health. 
  • Schedule: Can you commit to creating a weekly meal plan and sticking to your cooking schedule? A meal plan won’t work out successfully without your commitment and dedication. Practice preparing healthy meals at home rather than ordering online, which can be costly and unhealthy at the same time.

Learn the Art of Substitution

Most of the time, the thing that makes meal planning expensive is being choosy with food selections. But you can pick alternatives to the expensive items you usually buy to save money on your meal plan.

Here are some substitutes to expensive food ingredients:

  • Wine: You can substitute wine with non-alcoholic options such as chicken broth in place of white wine and cranberry juice instead of red wine. These wine alternatives can help achieve a similar flavor and consistency.
  • Matsutake Mushrooms: You might want to stick to buying expensive matsutake mushrooms because of their taste. However, you can substitute it with less expensive eggplant and tofu.
  • Veal: This meat is usually the most expensive option in butcher shops. If you’re on a tighter budget, you can replace veal with pork or chicken, which is a more reasonably priced alternative.
  • Kobe Beef: This Japanese beef is rich in texture but comes with a hefty price tag. You can substitute Kobe beef with choice-graded beef cuts from your local supermarket.

Learn Fast and Easy Cooking Methods

If you want to spend less time and money on your meal plan, learn fast and easy cooking methods. Avoid complicated methods such as poaching, rotisserie cooking, and double boiling, and stick to basic cooking the first time to avoid feeling too tired after. While you may want to provide master-chef-level meals every time, you may still lack the right knowledge and skills to do everything at once. 

Boiled eggs, meat, salads are in different plates on white background

Take cooking lessons one at a time. As you learn new skills, cooking will be more fun and exciting. In addition, you’ll avoid wasting ingredients due to incorrect measuring and cooking procedures. 


You can make a meal plan without spending a lot of money by being creative, resourceful, and sensitive to your nutritional needs. Whatever way you think is best for you, it’s important to keep the main purpose of a meal plan in mind. You can always talk to an expert to help you create a tailor-fit meal plan suitable for your needs.