Whether it’s a meal for one, family of four or you’re feeding a whole brood, we’ve got some great tips to help you save money and stay healthy.
1. Try dry beans & legumes
Ounce per ounce, beans are one of the healthiest foods out there. They are full of protein, fiber and are the most recommended food for many health conditions, like diabetes or heart disease.
Buy them dry, soak them overnight (depending on size) and cook them accordingly. They’re a great low cost source of protein and make a wonderful addition to any dish. Other legumes, like lentils and smaller beans, can be cooked without soaking.
Try mixing beans into any pasta dish, adding them to soups, using them in stir-fry dishes or employing them anywhere you might use meat.
2. Find a good affordable source of fruits & vegetables
Every community has its own resources – from free gardens to local co-ops to farmer’s markets. Find out which is the best for you. Taking the time to shop around can pay off in the long run. Don’t count out unlikely sources, like ethnic markets.
If you eat seasonally and choose from store specials, you can keep costs low. Don’t rule out any veggies, like cabbage or carrots, from being the star in your dish. Frozen produce contains virtually the same amount of nutrients and can come in handy in the off season.
When you see a good sale, buy more and keep storage in mind. Veggies like sweet potatoes can last a long time, fruits like apples and oranges can last a while – stock up! However, fruits like bananas and avocados aren’t good candidates for longer storage.
3. Go for the oats
Oats are one of the healthiest breakfast options. But you don’t have to buy fancy flavored oats or instant packets. Choose plain oats and dish our portions yourself; add your own flavoring and save money. Buying oats from bulk bins could also keep costs down.
4. Cut out the packaged goods
From boxed cereals to canned veggies – cut them out! Skip the pre-made drinks, like sodas, juices or anything else and stick to water.
And don’t get tricked into using coupons for these items – buying processed items for almost nothing isn’t worth it if they’re not healthy and take your food budget away from real food.
5. Cook in bulk and freeze
Chili is great, so are soups, but there’s only so much you can eat at one time. Instead of making small batches every day, make a large batch and store half of it when it’s finished cooking.
Eggs are a great, affordable source of protein. They’re a high protein way to start your day, but can also find a good place at the dinner table. Try adding hard boiled eggs to salads or scrambling some into any stir-fry. Bulk up the nutrition of eggs by scrambling them with greens like kale or broccoli.
7. The whole bird
Learning how to buy a whole chicken and cutting it to pieces can be a great source of food and save you money.
Shredded dark meat is great for casseroles, sliced breast is good for sandwiches and you can make a hearty stock from the bones. No matter how you cook it, buying the whole chicken is usually cheaper.
If you have any other suggestions or resources , list them below!