Feeding your family healthy meals doesn’t have to be expensive. Yes, you can spend a fortune on organic ingredients and foods from upmarket health stores but it is also very possible to buy inexpensive ingredients from your supermarket or local shops to make healthy, hearty meals that will taste fantastic and feed ravenous families.
Cooking in bulk can often be more cost-effective than preparing single meals as you can purchase large quantities of ingredients at a discounted price. Cook enough for a couple of meals and freeze the leftovers for an easy dinner on a night when you don’t feel like or don’t have the time to cook.
Healthy, hearty soups
Soup made from fresh vegetables and lean meats is a cheap and easy way to feed large groups without spending a fortune. Pick up big bags of value vegetables, which are often misshapen or ugly looking, neither of which matter when you’re chopping them up or blending them to a pulp to use in soup. Also check out the discount sections for vegetables that are close to going bad. Again, blitz them the same day and no-one will know.
Head to the discount sections
Items that are close to their sell-by dates are often sold at heavily discounted prices. Pick up fresh fish and meat and freeze anything you don’t cook that day.
Bulk up with healthy ingredients
Non-animal protein sources such as chickpeas, tofu and quinoa are packed with protein and incredibly filling but cost far less than meat.
Frozen items can sometimes be fresher than their brothers and sisters in the fresh food aisles as they are frozen as soon as they have been picked or portioned. Best of all, they can often be cheaper than their so-called fresh counterparts.
Never throw anything away. A large joint of meat can be cheaper to buy than a smaller one cost-per-weight and if you don’t finish it, it can be re-used in multiple ways – in soups, salads, pies, pasta dishes, the list is almost endless. The same goes for pretty much any cooked foods.
Plan your week’s meals in advance and write a list of the ingredients you’ll need before you go to shops. Not only will that stop you from making spur-of-the-moment unhealthy or costly choices, it will ensure you have no wastage as you’re only buying what you will definitely need and use that week.
Don’t forget to give yourself a break
Cooking for a family can be exhausting so every now and again give yourself a well-earned rest and order a takeaway. A burger and chips from your local fast food outlet will be incredibly unhealthy but use a service that allows you to order from one of a number of eateries in your area and you can be eating restaurant-quality food for a fraction of the cost of eating out.
About Christine Bourne
Christine Bourne is a writer, who believes that everyone should be able to afford quality, healthy food. She is consultant and author of many interesting and useful publications. Currently, she extends her word on useful advice that can help others.