Are you always on the go, depending on take-out meals or frozen dinners to feed your family? Here are some affordable and healthy food choices for your family.
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Many people want to provide more healthy food choices for their families but feel like they can’t afford to make the change.
The good news is that with a little research and meal planning, you can create healthy meals for your family every week. You’ll also need to be willing to get creative with your menus and try new foods.
Keep reading this guide to learn about affordable and healthy food choices you can make for your family!
Plan your meals for the week
If you want to save money on groceries, meal planning is a crucial step you need to take. Planning a weekly menu can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s easier than you think. The first thing you should do is choose one day a week to do your meal planning. On your meal planning day, take inventory of your cabinets and fridge to see exactly what you already have on hand.
Next, create a menu based on the ingredients you already have. Doing this prevents you from wasting foods that you have sitting in the house for too long. Depending on how much you have already, you can then make a grocery list that only includes what you need to make your meals for the week.
Don’t buy more than what’s on your grocery list
Once you’ve done your meal planning and made your grocery list, you need to make a point to stick to your list. It’s all too easy to get distracted in the grocery store and make unplanned purchases.
Overall, it’s best to shop the outer edges of the grocery store first since this is where the fruits and vegetables are. The middle of the store usually has processed foods and things you don’t need.
You can also look at grocery apps that help you make a grocery list and find good deals on food. Apps will also allow you to save your favorite grocery store foods, making it easy to create a list each week.
Buy from online retailers
Do your research to find online food retailers that you can order at least some of your food from. Many times online retailers offer healthy food for at least half the cost as compared to your regular grocery store.
In addition, when you register online, you’ll receive daily deals and discounts in your email inbox. Even better, your groceries will be delivered directly to your door, saving you money on gas. You can even find high-quality and versatile products like farm-made eggs available online straight from farms. You’ll be able to order them in larger quantities and use them for many different recipes. Although ordering products in bulk may seem more expensive at first you’ll save money long-term.
Cook at home
Although dining out or ordering takeout is easier to put in your meal plan, you’ll end up spending money and eating less nutritious foods. Keep in mind that you can feed a family or four people for less at home than you can when buying food for two people at a restaurant.
It may be challenging at first to break the habit of eating out, but you just need to keep working on your meal plan and make adjustments along the way. For example, you can plan meals for the entire week and weekends to eliminate these problems. You can also prep meals in advance, so they’re easy for you to grab and cook during the week.
If you have a discount or find a special deal for something like pizza, it’s fine to do that for one day of the week, but you need to plan it in advance and ensure you have other nutritious options too.
Buy frozen vegetables
Fresh vegetables, berries, and fruits are usually only in season a few months out of the year, and they’re often very expensive. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious, available year-round, and much less expensive. You can also find them in large bags which will last for weeks of meal plans, if not more.
You can even find frozen produce like avocados and pineapples that make great smoothies or toppings for yogurt or oatmeal. The best part is you can take it out of the freezer and use only what you need, and put it back. This stops them from spoiling if you don’t eat them in time, which saves you from food waste and extra costs.
Use inexpensive foods in recipes
You can find a lot of foods that are both nutritious and inexpensive; you just have to be willing to make adjustments to your recipes. You also have to get used to using ingredients that you may not be used to.
One thing you can do is increase your use of specific foods like:
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Cheaper cuts of meat
Next, you can look at recipes for delicious homemade meals that use basic ingredients like hot dogs or macaroni. You spice up macaroni and cheese with extra veggies, bacon, or ground beef. You can also make hotdogs with chili and frozen onions for a delicious meal. Also, shepherd’s pie is a comforting classic that’s easy to make with simple ingredients. You can use frozen vegetables, ground beef instead of lamb, and potatoes, making it an even less expensive meal.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and make your own recipe from scratch. You could even end up coming up with a recipe that your family loves.
Grow your own vegetables
Finally, if you’re able to, try growing your own vegetables. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can start out small. You can buy many different seeds for a cheap price, so you’ll have plenty of supplies to start with.
Start out by growing your own sprouts and herbs. You can then move on to growing produce like tomatoes or onions. Once you master a smaller garden, you can move on to plant even more crops. You’ll have a continuous supply of these herbs and vegetables, which will save you a lot of money at the grocery store.
Affordable and healthy food choices you’ll love
Now that you know more about how to incorporate healthy and affordable foods into your life, you can start planning your meals for the week today.
Be sure to do more research to learn more and don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deals before you buy. Remember, eating healthy foods is possible on a tight budget, you just have to plan carefully. In the long run, you’ll be eating foods with less sodium and sugar, and you’ll be healthier overall.