It is a fact of life that most of us are looking for ways to make the most of the money we have and when it comes to feeding our family that means stretching each food dollar as far as it will go. At the same time, we are also battling against an obesity epidemic and a world full of cheap empty-calorie food that might appeal to our taste buds but represents the wrong choices.
But the good news is, we have lots of healthy food choices. With a little extra effort and some small changes in how you plan, how you shop, and even how you cook, you can find the right balance between better food and less money. Here are the top tips we found to help families eat better for less.
1. Plan Ahead…..Way Ahead
When most people say plan ahead, they usually mean planning menus a week at a time or making a list before you shop but in order to maximize your money, you need to think a little more long term. The key to getting the best food at the best price is being able to buy things when they are cheapest which means stocking up when something is on sale.
2. Make it at Home
One of the fastest ways to bust your food budget is to buy ready-made or pre-mixed items that you could just as easily make at home. You will need more time to make things yourself, but it will save you a ton of money. As a bonus, when you make things from scratch you can control the ingredients which makes it possible to swap in healthier options.
3. Make Your Meat Count
Choose lean cuts of meat and watch for specials. Plus, watch for specials in the various meat choices – chicken, pork and beef and build your weekly menu around those meats on sale.
4. Don’t Overlook Leftovers
Leftovers have a way of landing in the fridge and then never leaving until they are unidentifiable. Start looking at leftovers as an asset, as a way to really stretch each food dollar as far as it will go. Many leftovers can be incorporated into lunches and dinners later in the week. For bonus points, try planning your menu so that you have a plan for what to do with what’s left.
5. Start with What You Have
Rather than asking family members what they would like for dinner, take a look at what you already have and then offer them options. Eating from your fridge and freezer this way ensures you are using the food you have while it is still good and that nothing goes to waste while it is waiting for someone to want it.