Nutritionist Kate Llewellyn-Waters reveals the surprising ways to eat healthy on a budget

Organization queen Katie Lolas has shared her top tips for planning and preparing meals ahead of time to save money on grocery bills and reveals the biggest meal prep mistake you’ve ever made. people commit.

With inflation driving up the price of groceries, Sydney’s mum said meal prep could be the key to lowering grocery bills.

She said to plan meals ahead, create an organized list of shopping items to stick to at the supermarket, start slow so you don’t overwhelm yourself, and set a time to cook during your weekly routine, and stick to it no matter what.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Katie shared her advice on how she keeps her grocery budget between just $100 and $120 for her family of three.

Sydney mum and teacher Katie Lolas, who feeds her family of three for $120 a week, has revealed her six tips for staying organized and saving big on your weekly grocery bill

1. ORGANIZE YOUR SHOPPING LIST BY AISLE – AND ALLOW THREE CRAZY ITEMS

To save money at the supermarket, the 36-year-old teacher said to create an organized list to stick to.

“Instead of walking into a store and grabbing the items you ‘think’ you need or want at the moment, let me help you get organized and focus on the items you actually need. need – I call it ‘targeted grocery shopping,'” she told FEMAIL. .

“When you practice targeted shopping at the grocery store, you’ll find that you save money, stick to your meal plan, create less food waste, and buy healthier foods.”

To save money at the supermarket, Katie said to create an organized list to stick to and only let yourself buy three unscheduled items from each store.

To save money at the supermarket, Katie said to create an organized list to stick to and only let yourself buy three unscheduled items from each store.

She said to organize your shopping list for a quick trip to the grocery store in two ways – by aisle or section and how you normally walk around the store.

“When I walk into my local Woolies, I usually walk around in this order: fresh produce, meats, dairy, canned, etc. and that’s how I organize my list,” she said.

“This ensures I never miss an item and was in and out in less than 20 minutes.”

Katie said to stick to your list making sure to check off every item and only allow yourself to buy three things that aren’t on your plan that you’re either curious to try or enjoy, but which you don’t necessarily need.

‘Go for the house brands too! Especially for basic items,” she said.

“There will never be enough of a difference in taste or quality of basic items to justify the price hike, so always go for the unbranded option.”

2. DON’T START PREPARING ALL THE MEALS FOR THE WEEK

Katie said meal prepping is supposed to make your life easier, not daunting, so avoid trying to prep every breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack for the entire week.

“The number one mistake I see people make when deciding to start meal prepping is taking too many things at once rather than starting slow,” she said.

“Contrary to popular belief, meal prep doesn’t mean preparing all your meals and snacks for a week,” she said.

Katie said meal prepping is supposed to make your life easier, not overwhelm you, so avoid trying to prep every breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack for the entire week.

Katie said meal prepping is supposed to make your life easier, not overwhelm you, so avoid trying to prep every breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack for the entire week.

Katie recommended starting with the meals you struggle with the most during the week and focusing on them.

“So if you’re someone who rushes in the morning and doesn’t have time to cook a good meal, consider making something you can pack like oatmeal, muffins or egg cups for the night,” she said.

“If you’re someone who finds herself at the office ordering Uber Eats for lunch three times a week, consider packing a salad or ingredients for a healthy sandwich or wrap.”

3. Lock in a time and stick to it

Katie said start slow, lock in a time when you plan to cook and stick to it, as you’re more likely to commit to a task and make it part of your weekly routine.

“If you’re new to meal prep, set yourself a time limit and once that time is up, walk away from the kitchen.” If that means you only make one recipe, that’s still one meal you’ve covered this week,” she said.

‘Eventually you will become more efficient in the kitchen in the given time. It’s always helpful to also remember that preparing meals now will save you time in the long run.

“If you’re new to meal prepping, set a time limit and once that time is up, walk away from the kitchen.” If that means you only make one recipe, that’s still one meal you have for the week,’ she said.

4. PLAN TO NOT BE TEMPTED BY TAKE-OUT

Katie said the most effective way to control your food budget is to plan, prepare and portion out meals in advance.

“You won’t need to look for quick, processed options because you’ll have healthy ones ready to eat,” she says.

She said meal prep and planning will save you money because you won’t be tempted to go out or order takeout.

‘It’s better value for money. With the money you spend on one meal, you can buy ingredients that will span multiple meals!

5. START WITH BIG MEALS AND CLEAN UP AS YOU GO

“Staying organized while preparing meals will make the whole process easier. I always start cooking with what takes the most time and do a few things at a time,” she said.

Katie uses a cooktop where she can cook three pots and pans at once without feeling cluttered.

“I also say a clean space is a productive space, wipe down the benches while you cook and if you’re waiting for something to end up in the oven, take the time to do the dishes,” she said.

6. INVEST IN A QUALITY KITCHEN BUY

Katie also recommended investing in high-quality appliances, containers and equipment to save money in the long run and reheat prepared meals quickly.

“I love the quick heat up features of my Westinghouse oven and cooktop, when I have little time to prep I know I won’t have to wait an extra five minutes for my appliances to heat up. good temperature,” she said.

‘In addition, the Quick Cook function is perfect for cooking frozen meals that I have prepared. All I do is place the food in the oven straight from the freezer and heat it. Cooks quickly and evenly every time.

Katie uses good quality meal prep containers like Sistema and Meal Prep Australia and for breakfast foods she uses mason jars from Kmart or Reject Shop.

She swears by her Phillips XXL air fryer which she often uses to quickly cook chicken, steak, meatballs, patties and pork chops.

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