Feeding your family foods that are both frugal and healthy can be a challenge, and if you are used to eating whatever you can find at a bargain without regard to its nutrition you may not be sure where to start. There are many foods out there that are both nutritious and cheap, and learning to find those foods and cook with them is neither hard nor is the food boring. Learning to base your meals on a few staple foods that are frugal and healthy can go a long ways to creating delicious and healthy meals that are well within your budget.
Over the next few weeks I will feature at least 2 foods that fit within these categories as well as recipes with how to use them.
Today I would like to go thru a few tips that will help you when buying and cooking for your family with these foods. When looking for recipes that are healthy there are a few things you want to look for.
Limit low nutrient foods – Would you water your plants with juice? Or feed your dogs caviar? Of course you would not, there is no value in doing so and it is throwing money away. The same goes for your families diet, when you can feed them high nutrient foods for the same price, why would you feed them low nutrient foods. I know the answer to this question…. because it tastes good, but that is where you come in, finding high nutrient foods that are frugal and tasty is doable.
Pay attention to high flavor value – Many things that are not flavored will taste bland, it wont matter what food it is, it will probably end up in the trash. Pare high flavor items with low flavor items. You can pair herbs, fruits, nuts and vegetables with rice, oats,potatoes, beans or pasta to bring a nice balance of flavors to your dishes.
Look for recipes that are baked, or broiled rather than fried – Oil is an expensive ingredient that is only needed in moderation, while we do need some fat in our foods, Americans eat for more of it than we really need and all too often eat it in the wrong form. Fried foods are always bad for and while I know they taste really good, there are ways to get a fried food taste without using so much fat.
Avoid sugar and other refined carbs – While sugar is a a high flavor food and satisfies most palates the problem with sugar is it creates the craving for more, and large amounts of sugar are not only low in nutrients but they are just plain not good for you. If your family must have sweets provide them with fresh or canned fruit instead.
I am not saying you will change all of your families diet, or that it will happen overnight, but what I am saying is that adding in healthy foods to your diet will improve your families over all health and that can’t be a bad thing!
Pic by: Faeryboots