Healthy Eating: Save, Spend, Splurge
Healthy eating is usually our goal right? Or how about more healing foods? This time of year, we are looking for more and more leaner and greener options. That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to spend more. I have put together a few of my favorite shopping tips to help you maximize your food budget. These tricks are designed to keep your kitchen stocked with options that compliment your physical health and financial wealth!
I put these tips into 3 different categories. The next time you make your grocery list and head to the market, you will know how and when to SAVE – SPEND – or – SPLURGE accordingly!
Take Inventory. Know what you already have on hand. Check your fridge, pantry, and spice cabinet. Take everything out of both and see what is in there. Get organized! Toss old or expired items. Take note of what goods you have and what needs to be replaced. Keep duplicates of the things you use each week. An extra can of stewed tomatoes or coconut milk are a good idea, but don’t get crazy hoarding goods as if you’re building a bomb shelter.
Plan Meals and Shop Accordingly. Before I make my weekly menu I take a look at our weekly schedule. What nights will we be eating out? What nights do we have commitments? I plan my weekly cooking around that. Usually meals are prepped on Mondays to maximize my time the rest of the week. Before prepping, I hit the store with an ongoing shopping list I keep on my phone. My list is written according to my menu for the week. I cross reference that list with the inventory we already have. When I hit the market, I only purchase the items on my list. This keeps my budget in check. I do my shopping and meal prepping all in the same day. It is a weekly ritual I enjoy. Batch salads or soups are ideal options to keep ready made foods on hand. Get excited about your weekly menu and have fun implementing theme nights like Meatless Monday’s, Taco Tuesday’s, or Pasta Friday’s.
Use What You Have. Once every other week or so I like to create recipes from only the food I have on hand. Scan your freezer, rummage the pantry and cabinets to get inspiration! A box of pasta, with a frozen bag of edamame or broccoli can turn into an amazing easy stir fry. Use leftover soy sauce packets or coconut aminos and tahini or peanut butter for an Asian inspired take out sauce and top with red pepper flakes. How simple is that?! It is a great way to clear out to make room for more! Think of it as Marie Kondo-ing your kitchen 🙂
Pick Your Produce. Don’t be afraid to use a mix of fresh, frozen, and canned. Determine how you will use each item first and that will help you decide what to buy. For example, I love using cherries in our smoothies. Cherries can be around $6-$9 per lb fresh. A frozen bag of organic, pitted cherries is half that amount. And frozen fruit makes for better smoothies anyhow and lasts longer. Greens are bought fresh and organic. Beans can be bought dried or canned. There are no rules! Shopping the seasonal items fresh is recommended, especially if you have access to a local farmers market!
Monitor Your Meat Purchase. By cooking meat only 1-2 times each week, we save a lot of $. I suggest you take that savings and put it right back into your meat purchase. Buy local, organic meats. Make friends with your local farmer, butcher, fish market. Cook one large skillet of lean, organic ground beef. Portion out into 2-3 sections and use for spaghetti, tacos, or a soup that week. You can roast an entire local farm raised chicken that can supply enough protein for several meals. Take it a step further and use the chicken bones to make your own bone broth. You can store in freezer bags. By rationing your animal based proteins this way, you will keep the serving size low (which nutritionally is appropriate) and in turn more affordable. Also, by preparing meat once or twice a week, putting together meals on the fly like salads, sandwiches, or rice bowls will be easy to assemble.
My hope for you is that your budget goes further next week and you find some new ways to meal prep for your family! Share you success on IG and tag TFP!