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?