Sunday, February 3, 2019

How to save on food costs

In the nutrition class I teach, students have commented on how much money “real” food costs.  They say it is so much cheaper to just buy the junk food, the fast food.  What are some ways to buy “real” food that doesn’t cost a fortune?

  1. Frozen Food – some people think buying frozen food isn’t healthy.  But frozen food is quite nutritious.  A recent article, 10 Frozen Foods Nutritionist Always Buy highlights good choices to make in the freezer section of your grocery store.
a.      Frozen Edamame – if you haven’t tried these baby soybeans, they are quite tasty.  And super nutritious as they provide vitamins, protein, and fiber.  One nutritionist adds them to her salads or quinoa.
b.     Frozen berries – try frozen blueberries, frozen cherries, frozen strawberries or any frozen berry.  My husband just bought a huge bag of frozen blueberries.  He adds them to his morning oatmeal or other cereal, makes blueberry pancakes.  I add them to mix of cut up fresh fruit.  Many people pull out a bag of frozen berries to add some berries to their morning smoothie.  Berries not only provide vitamins like vitamin C, but those powerful antioxidants that are so good for our health.  
Enjoy some frozen blueberries
c.      Frozen corn – buying corn on the cob in the summer is always a treat.  In winter we can buy frozen sweet corn.  To me it tastes fresher and better than canned corn. 
d.      Frozen baked potato wedges – most people know how unhealthy French Fries from Fast Food restaurants are.  Loaded with fat and salt.  But I love potatoes and a great way to enjoy “French Fries” is to buy some Frozen Baked Potato Wedges.  These have much less fat than the deep-fat fried French Fries at restaurants.  Potatoes also are loaded with potassium and a good source of complex carbs.  Jim White, RD, who owns Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios, recommends potato wedges after a workout as the potassium and carbs help promote recovery.  He adds these wedges to some protein and veggies for a good “post workout meal.”  

e.     Frozen brown rice – so easy to cook up the brown rice that comes in the packets that cook in 90 seconds.  But to save money you can also buy the dry brown rice and cook it according to package directions or buy it frozen.  Why brown rice?  Because it is whole grain and doesn’t have most of the vitamins and minerals removed in processing like white rice does.  Why frozen?  Because instead of taking 45 minutes to cook like dry brown rice does, it cooks in only 3-5 minutes. 
f.      Frozen peas – so much tastier than canned peas.  Many people don’t like peas no matter how they are cooked.  But I like peas and especially frozen peas as they taste so much better.  Peas provide protein, even some vitamin C and fiber.
g.     Frozen broccoli – I like fresh broccoli best but frozen broccoli can be used to add to omelets, casseroles and quiche.  Broccoli is loaded with nutrition including vitamins A and C.  Actually, as much vitamin C as you would get from an orange and many minerals and fiber. If you have leftover cooked broccoli, freeze it and add to a quiche or soup. 

      2.   Cereal can be quite expensive and the boxes of cereal are getting smaller and smaller.   Besides buying it on sale and using coupons, some other ways to save are:
a.       Oatmeal – always a healthy and often a less costly alternative.  You can buy plain, regular oatmeal and add some frozen berries, cinnamon, brown sugar to make it quite tasty.  And it doesn’t take long to cook.  We cook a bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes – just as easy as instant oatmeal.  I make my oatmeal with milk to add extra protein, calcium and vitamin D to my day.

     3.  Make many meals out of one purchase
a.       Roasted chicken – buy a roasted chicken, serve it for a meal.  Then cut up leftovers and freeze it.  We freeze one cup of leftover chicken and then use it to make homemade chicken noodle soup.  Or use a cup to stir fry with green pepper and onion and then add this to a package of quick cooking quinoa.  

     4.  Eat leftovers for lunch – A Dave Ramsey recommendation.  My daughter is often packing some leftovers for her lunch.  Eating leftovers for lunch adds variety instead of the sandwich every day.  It also saves money if you aren’t buying lunch the next day.
     5.  Make your own – you don’t’ have to be a great cook to easily make some food items
a.       Pudding – instead of buying pudding already made, buy a box of pudding, add the milk (real milk, not fake milk) and stir for 2 minutes.  Kids can easily learn how to make some pudding as a healthy snack.  Yes, it has some added sugar but also provides protein, calcium and vitamin D.  A great after school snack for kids.
b.       Lunchables – yes, so easy to grab in the store and use for your own or your kids’ lunch.  But make your own lunchable kits.  Kids can help put together their “lunchable” the night before. 
c.       Soup, chili – try making your own chili or soup.  We found a simple recipe for chicken noodle soup and chili is so easy to make from scratch. 
d.       Potatoes – buy a big bag of potatoes instead of 1 or 2 loose potatoes and use them baked, cut up and stir fry – so many ways to add potatoes to your meals.  

      6.  Skip the bottled water – buy a metal bottle and fill it from the tap.  The tap water even has fluoride to help protect your teeth.  Bottled water can cost 600 times the cost of tap water.  Huffington Post notes that bottled water can cost about $1.00 for a 16 oz. bottle.  If you drink 4 bottles of water a day, that can add up to $120 a month.  Save money and get the water out of your tap.

So many ways to cut some costs from your food budget.  Try some that work for you.  How much can you save?

Want to try the homemade Swanson Chicken or Turkey Noodle Soup?  So easy to make and a great way to use up turkey or chicken leftovers.  One Thanksgiving we tried hard to find an easy to make soup and were glad to find this recipe.  I double the carrots and celery for more nutrition and use half whole grain and half regular egg noodles:
  •  4 c. Swanson Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural Goodness or Certified Organic)
  •   1 dash ground black pepper
  •   1 medium carrot
  •   1 stalk celery
  •  ½ c. Uncooked extra wide egg noodles
  •  1 c. shredded cooked chicken or turkey

Heat the broth, black pepper, carrot and celery in a 2-quart medium saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.  Stir the noodles and chicken into the saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes or until noodles are tender.  

No comments:

Post a Comment