When it comes to figuring out a meal plan for the week, most of us are trying to save both time and money.This column explores ways to maximize convenience items, create budget-friendly meals and develop a delicious and cost-effective meal for blood glucose management. What are the best convenience options to help with meal planning for the week? The best convenience options to help with meal preparation will vary depending on your budget and preferences.You should consider how you want to spend both your time and money when it comes to preparing meals for your family.

Best meal-preparation timesavers

If you are tight on time or would rather spend your time on actual cooking, consider the following options to help you save an hour or two each week on grocery preparation and shopping.

Grocery store apps: Does your grocery store have an app? It might be worth downloading and using it to help you save time and money. Most grocery store apps offer the traditional grocery list feature and often also integrate other helpful features to improve the grocery shopping experience.Additional features grocery apps may offer include: • Coupons and weekly sales • A product location identifier, indicating the aisle in which the item can be found

• A recipe index for meal inspiration Curbside pickup and/or grocery delivery: Even with a grocery list in hand, the entire experience of grocery shopping, including the drive to and from the store, can easily take anywhere from one to two hours.

If that is time you would rather spend cooking or doing something else, it might be worth investing in curbside pickup or grocery delivery services. Grocery stores often offer curbside pickup services for no additional or minimal additional cost. Simply place your grocery order online and schedule the time you would like to pick up the groceries from the store. Grocery delivery services are often offered directly through specific stores or use a service like Instacart, which for a monthly fee provides you with access to a personal grocery shopper.

Best convenience food items Rotisserie chicken:

The price point, convenience and versatility of rotisserie chicken makes it one of my go-to items for saving time in the kitchen. Use rotisserie chicken in soups, casseroles, quesadillas, to top entrée salads or in a stir-fry. Dinner can be prepared in under 30 minutes and at a price point that is well under a takeout dinner for a family of four.

Bean and lentil-based pasta: Bean and lentil-based pastas typically cost more than traditional pastas, but they also provide more nutritional value: They are higher in both fiber and protein and provide a tasty and convenient way to increase bean and lentil consumption in the diet.

A versatile option, these products can be used in traditional pasta dishes or added to soups, casseroles or salads. Do you have any meal ideas for feeding my family for less than $5.00 a serving? Quiche and side salad: Eggs are cost-effective, high in protein and can be used in so many different ways. Create a quiche that includes your favorite vegetables and cheese and serve with a simple side salad. Chili and cornbread:Canned goods are great pantry staples and can be used to create cost-effective meals. Select no-salt-added or low-sodium varieties of canned beans,tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to create a simple and quick chili.Pair with a simple cornbread or a few whole-grain crackers. Chicken stir-fry: Use a rotisserie chicken,frozen stir-fry vegetables,lowsodium soy sauce and a quick-cooking brown rice for a simple but filling meal.

Carbohydrates are satisfyingand cost-effective.How canI reduce the starchatmymeals without increasingmygrocerybill?

Carbohydrates like potatoes,pasta and rice are staples in diets around the world, and they are typically inexpensive and delicious.But when it comes to blood glucose management,the portion of carbohydratesmatters.My suggestion is to focus on increasing the nonstarchy vegetable component ofthe meal.Using frozen, canned and seasonal fresh vegetables is the most cost-effective way to ensure that changing the portions on your plate won’t negatively impact your grocery budget.