As a single mom, I understand the value of a dollar and how expensive food has become. However, I don’t let this stand in the way of preparing and serving healthy food. With a little effort, I manage to stay on budget while not sacrificing nutrition and flavor. Here are a few tips I find helpful:
- Read the flyers to find out what’s on sale. Make sure you know if it really is a good deal or just regular price.
- Plan your meals ahead of time, so you only buy what you need.
- Try a vegetarian meal, like the recipe below, once a week as meat is often one of the most expensive grocery items.
- Buy foods that are in season; they are usually cheaper and tastier!
- Make a grocery list and bring it to the store with you, to prevent impulse buying.
- Buy only what you need. If you are a small family, the huge bag of potatoes really isn’t a deal if you throw out half.
Try this family favourite: my 4-year-old daughter loves this thick smooth soup with crackers or a biscuit. This soup is budget friendly with a per pot cost of about $2.24 or per serving cost of $0.22.
Food Fact: Lentils come in red, green and brown; they are easy to use as they don’t require pre-soaking. Lentils are an excellent source of fibre and a good source of protein, magnesium, potassium and folate.
(Makes 10 1-cup servings)
- 2 cups dry lentils
- 10 cups of water
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole cloves
- dash cayenne
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large onion
- ¾ cup celery
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup butter or non-hydrogenated margarine
In a large pot combine lentils, water, salt, pepper, bay leaf, cloves and cayenne. Bring to a simmer. Cut up carrot, onion and celery into small pieces. Combine the vegetables, with the garlic and butter/margarine in a small pan and cook for 10 minutes; add to lentils. Simmer everything for 2 hours. Discard the bay leaf and cloves. Put soup through a blender or use a hand blender to puree. Enjoy!
For more ideas, the Dietitians of Canada has some great budget-friendly cooking tips.
What are some of your great and affordable meal ideas?
About Rebecca Larson
Rebecca works in Vanderhoof and the surrounding communities as a dietitian. She was born in the north and returned after her schooling. Rebecca loves tobogganing with her daughter in the winter, gardening and camping in the summer and working on her parents cattle ranch in her spare time.