The biggest challenge we’re all having right now is trying to keep healthy in light of a reduced budget. If you are trying to squeeze every penny and still make healthy meals for you and your kids, here are a few things to bear in mind.
Use Rice as a “Bulker”
One of the most useful ingredients in any store cupboard is rice. In fact, when it comes to bulking out any meal, rice is the most important ingredient you will ever have! While many people view it as just a side dish, the fact is that you can use it as an amazing way to feel fuller while still making an amazingly delicious meal. A lot of people complain about rice being bland and flavorless, but this is where you can start to add flavor to it and actually fry it as part of a dish. For example, if you look at this chicken fried rice recipe, it’s an amazing way to use up any chicken while also adding more flavor. Dishes like this mean you can also experiment a bit more with herbs and spices. The fact is that in Asian cultures, rice is the staple part of the dish, so perhaps it’s time for us to use more rice too?
Don’t Be Wasteful
If you find you throw out a lot of food because it’s gone past its use-by date, it’s now time to get more clever in how you cook. You can either be strict about only buying what you actually eat or you can make sure that you use every single item you buy. You can use whatever is left in the cupboard and make meals with a huge pile of leftovers, and this is where you can become more creative. If you have vegetables leftover, you can throw them into a frying pan with some beaten eggs and make a frittata. Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, and vegetables are full of fiber. It’s win-win!
Freeze What You Don’t Eat
You can either have any leftovers from your main meal for lunch the next day, or you can freeze them and use them further down the line. There’s a lot of food you can freeze, for example, rice and soups. But there are also other things you can freeze, such as lasagne. If you are trying to minimize waste but you still want an incredibly sumptuous meal that keeps your kids feeling full, you need to get into the batch cooking frame of mind. If you use up everything you have in a lasagne or a pie, there’s no wastage and you’ve got yourself a really easy meal one evening. On the topic of freezing food, you can also freeze ingredients. If you are someone that wants to grow your own vegetables, you get into the sustainability frame of mind where you start to figure out the best ways to make things go longer. By freezing vegetables, you can preserve goodness. Frozen meals have, understandably, had a bad rap, but if you know everything is fresh you can freeze it without any issue!
Cook With More Pulses
Another cheap meal option for your dishes. Pulses like beans and lentils are some of the cheapest foods out there. But additionally, they are low in calories and are packed with a lot of minerals, vitamins, and fiber. If you are trying to reduce your meat intake because of the costs, you can replace it with kidney beans or chickpeas. And because they are so full of fiber, you will feel fuller.
Use the Entire Animal
Something that we’ve lost the habit of in this modern world is eating “nose to tail.” Eating nose to tail is, in essence, using the entire animal. And while you may not like the idea of eating liver or offal, the fact is that you can still use this approach as a way to make food go further. For example, if you like chicken you can buy a whole chicken which means you will get breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings. Additionally, you have the carcass so you can make chicken stock. Using the bones to make bone broth is another way to have more nutrition in your life and it also is an amazing way to flavor your meals.
Have More Vegetarian Meals
Even if you love your meat, you can’t get away from the fact that meat is one of the most expensive items on your grocery list. You can bulk out any meals with pulses but you can also add vegetables to make your meals go further. It’s a very popular movement anyway but if you are really looking to cook healthy meals cheaper this is one of the best approaches.
this is a GREAT list!! I am a senior living alone so fixing smaller meals or freezing left overs works for me. I love rice for any or all meals, sometimes I fix from scratch and sometimes I buy the packs. Totally agree on Vegetarian Meals.
This was a super helpful post.
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