Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eating Healthy On The Cheap Part 2

I've been thinking a lot about the way I shop and cook lately and how it has totally changed in the past few years. I used to find a recipe I wanted to make, go shopping that day and get all the ingredients for the recipe, and then come home and cook it. I would do this pretty much every day and needless to say I spent a lot more than I needed to on groceries. I still shop this way from time to time but now it's an occasional treat rather than a way of life. The biggest key to eating cheaply and healthily is to be creative. Here are a couple of tips that I find helpful for eating well and saving money.

A potato, broccoli and bacon hash that I made up on the fly for dinner last week.
1. Don't feel like you have to buy every ingredient that a recipe calls for, get creative with substitutions and think about what you can eliminate from the recipe altogether. You can really rack up a bill at the grocery store buying all the fresh spices and specialty ingredients for a specific recipe. Do you really need that fresh oregano for your dish? Can you used dried or substitute with the basil that is growing in your garden? Don't be a slave to the recipe, mix things up!

2. Cook from your pantry! This is still hard for me, I try to do regular pantry tours to remember what I have and make a point of using it. It's amazing how much food you waste if you forget about all the things you have taking up space at the back of the pantry, try to rotate things out and use them regularly.

3. Stock the pantry well, buy ahead when things are on sale. This one is a no brainer, stock up on sale items and freeze them if you have to.

4. Go meatless or cut back on meat. This will make a huge difference in your grocery budget. Do you really need meat in every meal?

5. Buy dried instead of canned. Dried beans are about the cheapest food item you can buy. Plus they are yummy and good for you! Have lots of these on hand.

5. The internet is your best friend when it comes to eating cheap and healthy. When cooking from your pantry you can easily google recipes involving whatever ingredients you have on hand. This saves you a trip to the store and cuts down on the amount of food you waste.

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