It is possible to feed your family healthy meals on a budget; it’s false that healthy eating has to be expensive. Here are a few budget friendly healthy eating strategies that will keep your family healthy but not empty your wallet.
Avoid pre-packaged healthy foods and wash and chop your own foods-Our population values a highly convenient lifestyle and this has transitioned into our current food supply. But the more convenient a healthy food is, the higher the cost, unless you’re buying low-quality foods. Instead of purchasing pre-washed and chopped produce, cut and wash them yourself at home. Children of all ages feel empowered when they help in the kitchen; quality time with your kids can be in the kitchen. Challenge yourself to find foods that are in their whole natural state as much as possible, plain oats are cheaper and healthier than the flavored oatmeal packets. Instead of individual yogurt cartons, purchase a pint or more at a time. The more individualized and the smaller the package, the more costly they will be.
Look for items that are in season– Finding produce like vegetables and fruits that are in season will always be less expensive than those out of season. Another bonus of foods that are in season is they are at their peak nutritional value. Take your kids to pick berries (or similar produce) by the bucket while in season, you will save money and you can freeze them for later and use them for healthy smoothies for months!
Grow your own herbs– Food has to taste good in order to get your family to enjoy it, but flavor in unhealthy cooking comes from excessive fats, salts and sugars; healthy cooking flavor comes from herbs and spices. Buying fresh herbs all of the time can be expensive and wasteful if the entire portion is not used. Growing your own herb garden is a great way to always have flavor on hand for a healthy dish and just picking off what you need will save money and reduce waste. Children love to watch things grow especially if they helped plant them.
Stick to the nutrition meal basics. Center meals on vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. Avoid extras like rolls, crackers, or other processed items. Homemade oven baked chicken strips, carrots and guacamole is a healthy kid friendly base to build a meal and does not contain any processed packaged items.
If you fail to plan you will pay for it. It’s extremely important to plan a grocery and food budget. Planning causes us to pack lunches more and eat out less, which is healthier anyway. Plan your healthy meals for the week so you are able to develop a list and you will avoid unnecessary trips to the store that only end up costing you more money. This will help you focus at the grocery store and only buy what you are planning on using, avoiding processed junk foods.
Dr. Kantor’s greatly anticipated new children’s book, The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice, is now available. Be sure to order this highly reviewed book, filled with healthy living tips for the whole family. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.