Rising Prices and Simple Meals
We all have witnessed grocery prices rising. You may be asking yourself, How am I going to pay for all of this? Well, I might have a few tips to help your budget stretch just a little further.
My number one tip is to keep it simple. I love quick and simple dinners, but I also love variety. With these simple meals I hope I can inspire you to try some new things to save some of your grocery money.
Cereal and milk is my older daughter's favorite. I tend to serve a piece of fruit with it too. Another option is to stick to something like oatmeal, but serve it in different ways. Pick and choose things to add like fresh or frozen fruit, molasses, a few chocolate chips, butter and cinnamon. There are many ways to make oatmeal out there, like baked oats or overnight oats. Although those require more prep.
P.B.J. sandwiches are my go-to for my daughter. If you can make your own freezer jam, it's super easy and cheap! Sometimes we will do grilled cheese or quesadillas. Again, I will serve fruit and/or veggies on the side. My husband likes to take leftovers to work.
Dinner can be the biggest budget blower, but remember to keep it simple. I skip over pre-made foods and try to cook a lot of whole foods. Mostly for two reasons:
It is healthier that way.
My husband has a severe dairy allergy.
So cooking whole foods and from scratch is the cheapest and safest way.
Try some simple swaps to start with. Skip the name brand jarred marinara sauce and instead reach for a can or two of diced tomatoes. You could simmer it down for a thicker sauce. Ground turkey meat tends to be pretty cheap, so we use that a lot instead of ground beef. Or in some recipes you can add a can or two of beans and cut down the meat you use.
Making any soup from scratch is going to be healthier and cheaper per batch than canned soup. My favorite is to throw premade frozen meatballs and frozen veggies in with beef broth. Dinner is ready within minutes.
Other dinners we do are: rice bowls (rice, meat, and veggies), burritos (rice, chicken, veggies, and tortillas), shakshuka (eggs, canned tomatoes, and garbanzo beans), and various soups.
Snacks can also be a large part of your budget. The best option is to cut a lot of processed items out in this category. Stick to fruit and veggies, crackers and peanut butter, homemade cookies, air popped popcorn, homemade hummus (I skip adding the tahini). It's so easy my 3 year old can make it with some guidance of course.
I hope you are able to embrace simplifying your food budget and try some new spins on some family favorites.
Browse simple recipes found in our free Health eKitchen feature on wichealth.org! Enter the ingredients you have into the search bar. You will discover recipes which use those ingredients. BONUS: We have marked your WIC-approved foods in each recipe! Watch this video to learn more about how to use Health eKitchen.
About Brooklyn. . .
My name is Brooklyn, and I have two daughters, a 6 month old and a 3 year old. We love cooking together and playing outside. When I have free time I love to craft things too.
Want more ways to save money on healthy food for your family? wichealth.org has a free online lesson called Maximizing Food Dollars. Find it on wichealth.org the Planning Simple Meals And Snacks category!