We live in a world of fast food, with quick access to sugar and refined carbs. Who wants to sit down for a family meal at home, when we can go to the fast food restaurant and pay little to nothing for a family meal? This statement could not be more wrong, yet this mantra exists with many families around the United States today. Our lives are filled to the brim with work, kid’s extra curricular activities, and family members to be taken care of. Not to mention, the household chores that need to be done daily, and feeding our beloved pets twice a day. With the hustle and bustle of our busy lives you would think there is absolutely no time to make a savory home cooked meal, but think again.
5 Tips and Tricks To Feeding Your Family Healthy Home Cooked Meals On A Budget:
Set A Budget and Stick To It
Believe it or not, you can feed a family of four easily within a reasonable budget a month with proper planning. Your dining bill each month is meant for the grocery store, and fast food/eating out really shouldn’t be tacked onto the allowance per month when you are trying to conserve money. This is where the costs can get out of control, when you spend money on groceries but end up eating out due to time constraints. Do a thorough pantry raid, to know exactly what you will need for the week. This helps to not have duplicates lying around which may go bad. Always buy produce in season to cut down on costs, and go for private labels instead of generic to save money.
Create Weekly Menu Plans
Every weekend at some point, try and squeeze a little time to prepare meals for the upcoming week. When you have a written out menu plan, it makes the stresses and last minute fast food decisions seem out of the question. By creating a menu, you will know exactly what you will need at the store, and can prep those meals ahead of time. Pre-cutting onions, and garlic are huge time savors, as well as getting the crock-pot out for some slow and savory cooking. By knowing the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus for the week it will have your family eating inside your food budgets, as well as getting proper nutrients that fast food can’t provide.
Mix It Up
Adding expensive cuts of meat to every meal will cost you a pretty penny. The key to creating savory dishes that are full of vitamins and nutrients is to always make something different. Buy a less expensive cut of meat one meal, and spice it up with seasonings and juices. Or better yet, try doing a vegetarian dinner one night a week to save on meat costs. The nutritional benefits of incorporating more veggies and fibers into your diet have been proven to better your health. No matter what, try and make different meals to add variety to your family’s palate.
I used to hate leftovers when I was a youngster, and now I am so grateful for them. When doing a weekly menu, I can always count on “leftover day” to be easy yet still nutritious and tasty. This will ensure that no food will be wasted, and it gives you a small break from cooking. You can even change the leftovers to make a new meal, such as taco meat turned into a plate of yummy nachos. Whatever the leftover, try and get creative to ensure that the food gets eaten, and not wasted.
There are so many creative options when thinking about meal planning, and cooking which is helpful in our busy lives today. Talk to a friend and exchange favorite recipes, or go online to a website such as Pinterest to find budget friendly affordable week-long menu plans for the whole family! All it takes is a little planning, and organization with your entire family to ensure everyone is getting the proper nutrients to fuel their busy days.