Giving your family healthy meals that they will love is certainly a goal worth working hard for. Unfortunately, even if you look for the best picky eater recipes to come up with nutritious and yummy meals for everyone, your plan may still go awry because of one key factor: your budget.
Serving healthy meals, especially all the time, can really take a toll on your budget. The good news is that there are a lot of tips and strategies you can follow to give your family healthy meals without going overboard with your budget. Here are some of them:
1. Plan your weekly meals
When you have a weekly menu plan, you can be sure you will be serving healthy meals at home. Having a weekly menu plan means writing down your recipes and with this list, you will be certain you will buy only healthy foods.
In addition, you will have an easier time sticking to your budget when you go grocery shopping since you will buy only what you need for your dishes, with just a few extras.
2. Involve your kids
When planning your meals for the week, make sure you involve your kids so that you will be sure you will be cooking dishes they will eat. Nothing can be more wasteful than preparing dishes that no one will eat.
Bring your kids when you go grocery shopping, too. Food shopping is one of the best times to educate your children about making healthy and smart eating decisions. Let them choose some fruits and veggies too, so that they’ll be more inclined to eat the dishes you serve.
Lastly, involve your kids when preparing and cooking the meals. When they have a hand in making the dishes you serve, they will more likely be excited to eat them.
3. As much as possible, buy in bulk
If there are certain ingredients that you use all the time for dishes and even snacks, buy these products in a larger quantity when they are on sale. For instance, if you frequently serve rice, you will find it cheaper to buy it by the sack instead of by the bag.
You will also find a lot of great deals on canned beans, tomatoes, peaches, and other products when you choose to buy them by bulk.
4. Stock up on items that are always in season
There are a number of healthy food products you should always keep in your fridge or pantry. These include rice, pasta, quinoa, root vegetables, and some tinned fruits and veggies.
These products are highly affordable, especially when you buy them in bulk. In addition, they can be used as main or additional ingredients in a variety of healthy, budget-friendly dishes. When combined with the right dishes, you can easily serve meals that contain items from all the right food groups for children.
5. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season
When shopping for produce, pick fresh ones that are in season. Buying fruits such as apples in the fall when they are seasonally available will save you a lot of money. If you compare the prices of fruits and veggies when they are in-season and when they’re not, you’ll quickly notice the huge difference.
6. Opt for less expensive types of meat or protein
Minced or ground meats are less expensive than whole cuts. They are easier to cook and versatile as well. You can use them for burgers, meatballs, chili, tacos, wraps, and different pasta dishes.
Tinned fishes, such as tuna and salmon, are quite affordable as well. They are rich sources of protein and other nutrients and can be used in numerous dishes, too.
Finally, eggs are high in protein and other nutrients that can help you sustain healthy and normal weight for kids. They are also affordable and versatile that you can use them not just for breakfast dishes but for lunch and dinner, too. You can use them in frittatas, burritos, hash, and add them to sandwiches.
7. Don’t let your leftovers go to waste
Lastly, leftovers are a great way to ensure everyone eats a healthy nutritious dish for another meal. It’s also a sure-fire way to save money and time in preparing meals.
If you have some leftover sautéed ground beef or shredded chicken, you can turn them into healthy wraps. Simply add some fresh veggies or fruits and cheese to these ingredients to come up with a tortilla or pita wrap. You can also add them to stews, beans, or other types of pasta dishes.
With some careful planning, additional work, and creativity, you can serve delicious and well-balanced meals that meet your kid’s nutritional needs without overspending.