Family meals are often a source of irritation because preparing food night after night can leave us without ideas. Busy families tend to spend extra money on groceries because its easier and faster to buy expensive, premade frozen foods rather than stock up on pantry basics. By keeping certain staples in your pantry, you not only can eliminate the high cost of prepared foods, you can also eat healthier on a budget.
Here are some simple tips to allow you eat better and save money while doing so:
Stock Up On Basics
There are several basic items that come in handy when preparing meals. By keeping on hand the right ingredients, you can turn just about any meal into a healthier, more filling meal. A few of the basics include frozen veggies (if you don’t have fresh), bag of rice, wheat pasta, chicken stock, and a variety of dried beans. It is always good to have flour and other basic baking ingredients to prevent having to buy boxed foods.
Most grocery stores have select days when they offer decent sales on meat products. Review promotional fliers to find out when beef, chicken and pork are on sale and then stock up your freezer. Next, you should find recipes that allow you to make more than one meal from the meat. For instance, a whole chicken can be used in a variety of recipes and the stock from cooking the chicken can be frozen and used as a base for soups and other meals. A whole ham can be used in a number of ways including lunch time sandwiches and ham and bean soup.
The best way to save on produce is to buy and use vegetables and fruits that are in season. During the summer months, visit local farmers markets where you can find fantastic deals straight from the farm. You can freeze some vegetables like peppers, onions, and squash for cooking later. Fruits can be made into smoothies and frozen. You can also dehydrate fruits and vegetables for snacks and meal ingredients. When you can not find in season produce or fruits, opt for bags of frozen that you can use as needed.
Instead of spending big time money on your family’s snacks, learn how to make your own healthier snacks including baked potato chips and invent fun recipes for fruit and vegetable snacks. Families can eat healthier and spend much less on fruits and vegetables than on expensive, sugary cupcakes and junk food.
Forget the Sugary Stuff
Spending a lot of money on sugary drinks just raises the costs of dental visits. Skip the sodas and other sugar drinks and opt for water. You can invest in a cheap jug to keep water cold in the refrigerator to make it easy for families to pour a cup or refill a bottle of water in no time.
There are lots of ways these days to save money on meal making. Coupons can also be an added benefit if you can find ones for healthier staples and products. Check out online recipes for healthy, low cost meals and make a grocery list based on these recipes for a week or two at a time. After a while your pantry will be full of staples you will get a lot of use out of for several meals in a month, making your grocery list smaller and less expensive.
Choosing to eat low cost, healthier foods is also a commitment your family must make. Manufacturers make it very easy to be lazy about grocery shopping and the lazier you are, the more money you will spend on grocery trips.