Cost-conscious cooking is on everyone’s to-do list these days. Selecting healthy and affordable food might seem like a challenge, but nutritious and inexpensive are not mutually exclusive concepts. Follow these tips so you can enjoy delicious fare at a great price.
• Use weekly grocery store ads to plan your weekly menu (do it on the weekend and make it a family affair)
• While reading the circulars, check for foods you buy regularly
• Get a coupon app for your smart phone and use that too (like coupons.com)
• Generate a shopping list for the week that you can stick to
• If your favorite store isn’t offering competitive prices, ask them to price match
• Convenience costs more so consider these options:
-Buy whole heads of lettuce and chop them yourself
-Shred your own cabbage and carrots
-Buy bone-in, skin-on chicken and bone and skin the poultry yourself
-Shred your own cheese
-Marinate your own pork and turkey tenderloin
• Buy produce in-season and on sale. Farmers’ markets and natural food stores often offer huge savings on seasonal produce.
• Purchase “family packs” of chicken, steak, pork and ground meat — the price per pound is typically lower. Portion out extras and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
• Stock up on sale items that can be stored, such as canned and jarred foods, pasta, grains, frozen vegetables, and poultry, meat, fish and shellfish that can be frozen for future meals.
• Plan for leftovers by making double batches of soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles. Freeze the extras in individual or family-style portions.
• Stretch meals by adding satisfying and filling side dishes. Brown rice, whole grain pasta and beans are great choices.
Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.