web analytics

MANAGING MEAL-TIME: Go-To Strategy for Health, Wallet & Waistline

The COVID-19 crisis is not only changing how we interact, it’s upending meal-time as well. While take-out is terrific, the extra expense and calories can be hard to manage long-term. A great go-to strategy for managing meals at home is clearly necessary for your health, wallet and waistline.

That’s why the experts from Verv, the all-in-one fitness app with a global community of users, has created a go-to meal planner with easy tips and common-sense guidelines.

Want to learn more?  Download their free, educational “Stay-at-Home” kit with over 200 exercise, meditation, yoga and nutritional programs.


  1. Create a menu

It’s not surprising that this is step one of how to meal plan – it’s also the hardest! Creating that plan to eat doesn’t leave much room for spontaneity and this can be a challenge for some free spirits.

To combat it, you need to sit down and take the time (yes, it’s hard) to plan what you and your family will eat for the next week. This means planning which dishes you need to cook and what food you need to buy for them so that you don’t need to run to the shop mid-week.

Keep boredom from kicking in with different meals as much as possible. You can choose flexible ingredients, such as carrots, potatoes, etc., that can fit in a variety of dishes and still not be boring.

  1. Check the shop online beforehand for bargains

In your meal planning efforts, it’s a good idea to head online and check what’s on sale. You can also look for flyers, discounts, and coupons to reduce how much you spend on your weekly shop.

Note:  Not only is this a cornerstone of how to meal plan on a budget, it can also give you some great ideas and inspiration for what you’d like to cook that week. Perhaps, you’ll see an unusual ingredient on sale or a new spice. Plan to add this to your menu and keep things interesting.

  1. Go meat-free

Although meat is ’must-have’ for many people’s diets, it can prove a huge expense on your budget. Choosing one or more days a week to go meat-free can improve your health and save a little cash for your pocket.  It’s also very friendly for the planet.  If you’re finding yourself with a cash-crunch do to furlough or unemployment, this is an excellent way to save money and still enjoy delicious meals.

  1. Add in grains and legumes

Grains, such as rice, and pasta, and legumes, such as chickpeas and lentils, are inexpensive and filling. They make a great addition to almost any dish and can be enjoyed as the center of the meal too.

You can add them to lots of different recipes, such as spaghetti bolognese, chickpea curries, lentil hotpots, etc. Lentils also deliver as a great source of healthy protein for your diet too, while those carbs can help you stay fuller for longer.

  1. Keep it simple

Those gourmet recipes you see online or on TV might look delicious, but chances are they contain a million and one ingredients. And this isn’t good news for your weekly shop or your budget.

As much as possible, try to stick to ingredients that can be used in a number of dishes, or long-life dried spices that can be kept in storage for when you feel like spicing things up.

  1. See what’s seasonal

It’s fresh, it’s tasty, and it’s available now – that’s right, it’s seasonal produce. Adding seasonal vegetables to your menu means you’ll check that ‘how to meal plan on a budget’ box, and also add fresh vitamins and minerals to your system.

Seasonal produce is often cheaper than something out of season, and it means you’ll be able to change and add ingredients to your menu and the seasons change. No boredom here, just delicious fruits and veg.

  1. Make leftovers matter

There’s no doubting stale leftovers are no fun! But leftovers can be delicious too. For example, you can make a roast chicken dinner one day and use the leftover meat for sandwiches and then again for soup.

Or, if you’re on the non-meat eating boat, you can make a curry and eat it with various carbs – homemade oven chips, rice, or even pasta.  Repurposing food not only makes it more fun, it’s also good for the environment too as it reduces food waste.

  1. Go large and freeze

Did you create a huge dish and don’t want to waste it? Don’t! Many foods freeze excellently for later usage. For example, you can create a huge shepherd’s pie and freeze half of it for later in the week.

This is also a great way to avoid getting bored by eating the same meal three days in a row.

You can also keep frozen fruits and veggies to use in other meals, these are packed with nutrients that fill you up and give you that much-needed immune system boost while stuck indoors.

  1. Don’t cook what you won’t eat

It might look great on paper, but if you don’t like it, you’re unlikely to eat it and that’s a waste of both your cash and your time.  Create your meal plan based on what you love to eat on any normal week. We’re not saying fill it with cakes, pizza, and all other not-so-good for you things, but don’t completely deny yourself these pleasures either.

Adding in a little of what you love helps you stick to the meal plan and avoid heading back to the shop when you really don’t need to.

  1. Snack sensibly

If that absence of heading to the office has left you snacking more than usual, you’re not alone. It’s easy to visit the snack cupboard when working from home, even just to break up the day with a little munch.

Or, perhaps, you have what seems to be an army (according to your food bills) of bored kids asking, “Mom, can I have a snack?” every five minutes. If this is the case, you’ll know that snack-time isn’t optional. You need to plan ahead here too.

First and foremost, follow these tips to avoid boredom eating. Next, aim for healthy snacks – bananas, apples, and other fruits, these are filling and delicious. Next, go for seeds and nuts, they deliver that filling protein boost. Then, if that doesn’t satisfy, try dark chocolate or better yet add it to the fruit.

About Verv

Verv is a comprehensive personal mobile health assistant that brings together physical fitness, mindfulness, healthy eating, and good sleep to make a true and significant difference in your well-being.