Eating Healthy & Saving Money with Less Time
With back to school creeping up on us, so is the reality of putting the grill away, eating light meals and having plenty of time to cook. Soon it will be driving the kids around to practice, games and other activities. The pressure of coming home at 5:30 and having to make dinner can be stressful and overwhelming. The easy solutions of frozen dinners and stopping for take-out can lead to unhealthy eating and a dent in your family’s budget.
Here are a few tips to help you manage time, eat healthy as a family and save a few dollars along the way.
1. Don’t shop with your kids.
Pick an hour a week where you can shop without your children. The alone time will do you well and you will have more time to make price comparisons. Also, you are not tempted to impulse buy or get “junk food” that your children see in the aisles. By controlling the options in your pantry, your children will learn to eat fruits and healthy snacks rather than eating treats they begged you to buy.
2. Make a list and stick to it.
If you are throwing food out because it is spoiling or no one is eating it, lessen the amount you buy. This will help you stick to a budget, save money and learn what foods you like as a family.
3. More veggies less meat.
A great way to save is to shrink your portion size to 4 to 6 oz. of protein. This means 1 pound of chicken can feed a family of 4. Make dishes like soups, stir fries, casseroles and pasta to use less meat per meal and add vegetables into the diet.
4. Fruit every morning.
Apples, bananas, grapes, dried fruit or other fruit are a great way to send your child to school with their mind working and alert. Buying bulk fruit in season is a great way to save money as well.
5. Shop farmers markets and take your kids.
This is a great tool to teach your children about local foods and how they are raised plus the food is healthier than processed food purchased at the grocery store. The impulse of a child wanting something while you shop never changes but at a farmers market they now are begging you for a healthy snack , not a candy bar or sugary treat, and they start to learn that fresh food is better.
Chef James Tranchemontagne is the owner of the Frog and Turtle Restaurant in Westbrook Maine. Chef James also teaches many cooking classes with a focus on healthy eating on a budget. Contact James at: www.thefrogtandturtle.com.