Having to feed your family on a tight budget is no easy task, but if there’s one thing you can’t do without, that’s food. This means that some families need to learn how to shop again and find out just what kind of compromises they can and can’t make when it comes to the food budget. For a lot of people the concept of buying cheap food items is largely based on buying cheaper versions of what they’re used to buying. But this is a slippery slope, as these “cheap” foods usually come at a greater cost, either because they’re not as filling, because they lack the nutrients that their more expensive counterparts have or because they have to replace their ingredients with cheaper and often unhealthy versions. Whatever the strategy used to make them cheaper, you and your body will be worse for it. So we’ve put our minds together and came up with ways you can slim out your food budget without putting your health on the line.
1. Eat at home
It goes without saying that eating out is always more expensive than eating at home. We would advise you to be absolutely radical at this: eliminate eating our entirely for one or two months and then see how much you gained from this and how much you may start spending on eating out in the future.
2. Take your time
You’ll realize quickly that cooking cheap is cooking mostly from scratch. This means that instead of buying a jar of sauce for your pasta you’ll be making it yourself. This will cut the costs greatly, but will increase time spent in the kitchen, especially in those first meals when you don’t quite have the hang of it yet. In the future you’ll learn to time yourself better and to multitask, which will see you cooking much faster. And we don’t need to stress how much better things made from scratch taste either.
3. Cut the meat
Meat and fish are the most expensive items on your plate, normally. This means that they have to be the first to go. We’re used to eating meals where meat is more than half of your food intake, and this needs to be reversed. If the meat is only 1/4 of what you’re eating you will see a dramatic drop in the price. It is also the healthier option: less meat means more vegetables and more grain in your diet.
4. Up with the sides
What you have so far called your “sides” like potatoes, pasta and vegetables will be your best friends when cooking cheaper and healthier. Decrease the meat like we talked in #3 and increase the amount of vegetables and grains. This will not only help in making you feel as full as you would if you ate a big slab of meat – or more – it will also prove the more balanced and healthier option. And save room for desert: you’ll want to add fruit to this balanced meal to top it off in the best of fashions.