How to prepare prepackaged meals on a budget

Those ready-made meals shops do help but they carry a hefty price tag but one local man makes his own meals and is saving
November 7, 2013 1:50:03 AM PST
It's a problem for many people trying to lose weight and eating healthy while on the go just isn't easy. Those ready-made meals shops do help but they carry a hefty price tag.

Prepackaged meals are sold at the grocery store and at places like My Fit Foods but at $7 for some meals they can really take a toll on your food budget. That's why one man is saving money and losing weight by prepping his own healthy ready-made meals.

The containers are ready, the labels prepped and the food is being cooked.

It's a process but Peter Flores says it's worth it.

"Honestly, I started the frozen meal because my partner Ryan needed lunches and it was getting a little pricey to pay a $6 or$ 7 lunch every day," said Flores.

And by cooking his meals at home, not only does he control the ingredients it's saving him big money.

"You buy a 5lb bag of chicken and it cost $11 but you can make 20 meals with that," he said.

He uses websites like and apps on his smart phone to find low calorie recipes and comes up with a plan,

"I'm not talking about ham and cheese sandwiches -- I'm talking about restaurant quality food you make and save a lot of money," Flores said.

There is tuna casserole, stir fry shrimp, and even low fat enchiladas.

"Every day I'll have a meal planned, whatever is left over I use for the meals for the next day or following weeks," he said.

The savings can be substantial, for example at Kroger chicken parmesan is $6.99 and at My Fit Foods turkey chili is $7 a dinner.

"For that price I can make 10 turkey chilis," Flores said.

And cooking his meals in advance not only puts money back in his wallet it's improved his health and helped him lose 70 pounds.

"My blood pressure is better I'm no longer pre-diabetic," he said. "The doctor was impressed with my results the last time I went to see him."

So, how can you get started on this money saving idea? Pick one day to cook.

If making extra meals at dinner every night is too hard then pick one day out of the week to cook multiple meals and stock up.

"If on a Saturday I'm going to cook, I pick meals that don't take too long to make and make 15-20 meals and that's 15-20 days worth of meals," said Flores.

Another tip is label everything. Make sure to put the dates and titles on your containers so you can keep track of what you've made.

Tip number 4 -- defrost your meals For the best results let your meal defrost before you microwave them. That way you are getting a meal that taste fresh from oven.

Here are Peter's recipes he found on

Oven-Baked Chicken Parmesan

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Creamy Broccoli-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Find Patricia on Facebook at ABC13PatriciaLopez or on Twitter at @patricialopez13

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