Many people are tightening there budgets for many reasons. Whether it is due to financial set backs, participating in a No Spend Month, or just want to cut back due to setting new budgetary goals. One problematic area affected in budgeting is food. Without sacrificing taste and freshness, here are 5 great tips for stretching a food budget.
“…without sacrificing taste and freshness.”
- Eat More Meatless Meals: Meat is one of the most expensive costs in a grocery store. So start making one or two vegetarian dinners a week to cut the costs. Dishes with rice, whole grains, beans, and legumes and added with seasonal produce make for some great meals. Plus, they are healthy for you, too!
- Make a Meal Plan: This is truly a cost saver. Sit down on a Sunday morning and plan your meals for the week. Knowing what you need to buy eliminates mindless spending at the grocery store.
- Do it Yourself: Skip out on the convenience products and take a few extra minutes to make it yourself! Chop your own veggies, make a batch of soup, make pizza dough on the weekend to use during the week, whip up some granola bars, and bake some casseroles. Hey I work a full-time job and have kids. If I can do it, so can you!
- Learn to Stretch meat, poultry, and fish: This is one of my usuals habits. Not because of the budget but because I don’t like to eat alot of meat. Instead of using protein as the center of the plate, use it sparingly for flavor and texture. Toss sliced steak into a salad, toss crumbled bacon on a baked potato or focus larger portions of veggies and grains on the plate.
- Eat in Season: This is a good money saving tip. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. When produce is at its peak, there’s an abundance of it – and you can find it for a bargain. In the summer, enjoy tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs, bell peppers and more (thinking Panzanella). During fall and winter, there is winter squashes; dark leafy greens; citrus; and sweat potatoes. And in spring, there is berries, asparagus, artichokes, and fresh peas. Its hard to feel deprived when the budget allows for such riches.
The other benefit from these five tips: Research shows eating more foods may lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Top that! Enjoy fresh foods and more money in your pocket. It’s a win-win situation.