It’s a well-known fact that eating more healthily usually means that your shopping bill will cost more.
As soon as you decide to cook meals from scratch and try to get extra fresh vegetables into the kids, your ingredients list goes up. Depending on what you’re making and how empty your store cupboards are, you might find that the food budget has to go up too.
Serving up tasty, home-cooked meals doesn’t always have to be expensive though. There are lots of ways that you can make healthy meals that the whole family will love without breaking the bank.
Shop around for ingredients
Some shops and supermarkets will charge more for vegetables than others, so it’s worth looking around for cheaper fresh ingredients.
Look at the prices in budget supermarkets, green grocers, on market stalls and even visit your local allotment. Quite often, gardeners will have a bumper crop and may have extra foods that they can’t use themselves.
Frozen vegetables are often fresher than those in the vegetable aisle. Ingredients tend to be frozen when they are picked and then transported to the supermarkets. Fresh ingredients on the other hand, have to stay fresh during their ‘food miles’, so they’ve already been picked a little while before you serve them up to the family. Frozen foods also tend to come in larger quantities and won’t go off, so they can be used in lots of meals over time. Keep a bulk of frozen vegetables that can be thrown into a casserole, stir-fry, added to soups, or simply added as a side dish. Simply defrost as and when you need them.
Some meals mean that you need to buy specific ingredients. If you don’t think that you will use them again for a while, why not make it in bulk? Batch cook larger quantities of your children’s favourite meals and pop into plastic containers in portions so that they can be frozen. This is also a lifesaver when the kids are hungry and you’re short on time. Just make sure they are cooked through before serving.
Don’t be put off by tins
We have to admit that the tinned aisles are not very appetising, but when the ingredients are ‘hidden’ in meals, does it matter? Buy tinned tuna, salmon, or vegetables if you are making meals such as pasta bake. The kids will never know what it looked like when it came from the tin and it’ll save you a fortune compared to fresh ingredients.