Healthy Food on a Budget

When trying to be frugal with food, the first rule to follow is buy what you eat (don't buy it just because it's on sale), eat what you store (don't want to waste it) and rotate, rotate, rotate! You don't want to buy newer foods and have older foods not eaten.

When trying to put nutrition in your food there are a number of ways to do it frugally. Some of them include:

- cutting back on meat -substitute meat for beans, dried peas, chick peas and lentils, oatmeal or breadcrumbs. Use less meat in your meals. Our family uses two chicken breasts for supper and we have leftovers. Buy your meat when it's on sale and then pack it in individual portions for the freezer. Eat meatless meals. We had curried lentils with carrots and peas tonight and it was a great hit. A little on the spicy side, but very good nonetheless. Buy a 1/2 cow for your freezer for the winter from a local farmer. Can't afford/don't have room for that much? Go in with a friend or a few and divide the bounty. Buy chicken and pork from your local farmers as well. 
- cut back on salt and sugars when baking and cooking -substitute honey and applesauce for sugar
- sneak vegetables in to the recipe- puree zucchini, beets, spinach
- no prepackaged foods

Ingredients needed to cook more frugally:

-lots of veggies
-less meat, or even no meat. At least one meatless meal a week will really give you savings.
-make your own mixes (cook from scratch)
-plan leftovers for lunches
-use slow-cookers -this allows you to use cheaper cuts of meat and tenderizes it as it cooks slowly and for a long time.
-no prepackaged snacks
-beans, tofu

My other ideas for frugal foods:

-have a cold room so you can buy your produce in bulk. I buy my potatoes and carrots in 50lbs bags, onions in 10lbs bags and apples in 20lbs bags. All of these I purchase at a local produce store. Everywhere has them, it's a little mom and pop establishment that has lots of local produce. The one I frequent is Mount Edward Grocery in Charlottetown.
-have a pantry room to store other items that you buy in bulk when they are on sale. I stock up on soups, flour, sugar, rice and other items that I use so they are always there.
-buy your eggs in flats instead of by the dozen

-watch the flyers for sales of your everyday products and stock up. I get some very strange looks from the cashiers when I come through with 60 orange juice, but when they are onsale for $1 off, I stock up!

-garden. That should say enough, but having your own garden cuts down on your produce prices over the summer. If you are a canner, freezer, dehydrator, it cuts down your costs throughout the year as well. Last year, I was able to can enough tomatoes to last our family for 9 months. This year, I made enough salsa to last us well over a year. We dry baking beans, peas, apple chips and onions for the year. We freeze strawberries, blackberries and blueberries to last us over the winter.

-go to upicks and orchards. Great way to save money, get outside and spend quality time with your family. Then take home your produce and put it up for the winter.

-bake your own cookies, rolls, bread, pizza dough etc. It's much healthier, tastes way better and is much cheaper. We make all of our own bread here and when I am organized enough, I grind my wheat first to have whole wheat bread. No one here likes the heals of the bread, so I dry them, food process them and toast them for our own bread crumbs.

What are your ideas to cook more frugally? We would love to hear from you. Drop us a line.

Enjoy your day!

1 comment:

Jane said...

We cook a lot of what we call "medleys" - soups and stews that we throw in leftovers, chicken bones, whatever is at hand, stretch them out with rice and lentils. About once every two months we have a "pantry week" where we live off of what's in the pantry & fridge and only buy milk. It's amazing what you can find tucked away.