How To Get the Most out of Frugal, Easy Cooking
There’s no working around food; you just can’t avoid it. And if you want to be healthy, you really need to invest some time and thought into it. Now, food is not cheap. Especially not healthy, organic, diverse food. If you live in a family with children, expenses are vast and your resources are limited; careful meal planning is a must.
So, how do you plan meals on a budget, eat healthy, and have time for a LIFE?
Here are some helpful tips on how to save money and time when it comes to preparing meals:
1.Try to shop in bulk at least once a month. Have a list of items to buy, and DON’T include things you don’t absolutely need. It would be great if everyone could eat healthy, organic food, but if you can’t afford it, it’s enough to buy fresh produce from the farmer’s market, or just any fresh produce.
2. Cooking “in bulk”. That is, try to set aside some time on weekends, or when you have more time than usual, and make A LOT of food. That way you can freeze meals for days/weeks to come and don’t have to worry about cooking when you have work to do, or when you just need some time off.
You can also just prepare ingredients beforehand: cut onions, tomatoes, broccoli, meat, etc. and pack them in small plastic freezer bags/containers. You simply only need to defrost these ingredients to prepare easy healthy dinners quickly when you’re hungry. Cutting and preparing veggies is really the hardest part. It’s the reason people usually resort to ordering pizza, instead of cooking from scratch.
3. Involve your children/husband in the cooking process. If you don’t know what to do with kids when you need to cook, just give each of them something to do. It’s simple to come up with easy cooking activities for kids. Older children can cut carrots and onions, smaller children can play with dough and make fun shapes out of it. Just make sure their little hands are busy. That’s also one way to get them interested in eating veggies (if they take part in preparing the meal, they’re more likely to eat it). Not only are you preparing a healthy meal, you’re also spending time with your kids.
Here are some easy foods to freeze that you should always have prepared in your freezer for quick meals:
- chopped onions
- diced tomatoes
- grated or finely chopped carrots
- separated cauliflower florets
- cut broccoli
- cut peppers (red, yellow, green)
- meat separated into one-serving-size bags
Having these ingredients packed in the freezer, you can always make a healthy meal in 15 minutes saving time and money.
Here’s one yummy meal you can prepare easily (instead of buying junk food on the way home from work):
Put 1tbsp olive oil in a pan and sauté 1 medium chopped onion. Add 1 red and green chopped pepper, then add 2 diced tomatoes. Cook for 20-30 minutes. When peppers and tomatoes are completely tender, add one or two eggs and mix it all together. Season to taste (salt, pepper, parsley…).
There are tons of combinations of veggies, eggs, meat, etc. that can easily be whipped into a delicious, healthy meal. Just remember that cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be so time-consuming if you’re well organized; plus it saves you so much money!
About The Author
Ana Brady is a mom, wife, frugality fan and a big food enthusiast. She enjoys planning meals and spending time outside with her family. She also works on a project on beverage labels.
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