Planting seeds of health and happiness

Feeding Your Family Nutritious Meals on a Tight Budget

November 30th, 2014 / cat / 0 comments

Feeding Your Family Nutritious Meals on a Tight Budget

There really isn’t much to debate about anymore when it comes to the value of eating seasonal, organic foods. With recent studies showing that organic produce is richer in antioxidants and far lower in metals like cadmium, a return to good, old-fashioned cooking, based on delicious local produce, is the order of the day. Don’t believe the hype that healthy food is more expensive. You don’t have to shop at fancy stores to get the best out of local produce. There are many ways to feed your family the best food at a fair price; these are just a few suggestions:

* Grow your own food:

Susan Huff has spent a lifetime showing that homes and schools make excellent settings for a personal garden, where you can grow all the foods you love–ripe, plump tomatoes, crunchy kale, fleshy pumpkins and more. Don’t be discouraged if your backyard isn’t huge or you live in an apartment with no garden. Even a six-foot space on your terrace can host a small garden where you can grow herbs like basil, cilantro or rosemary effortlessly and even a tomato vine or two! The idea is to lose your fear of farming and to create edible spaces within your home; the fact that everything you grow will be 100% pesticide-free, low cost and ultra delicious, is certainly food for thought. If you don’t have your own terrace, use your kitchen or any free room in the house to grow your own sprouts! Did you know that sprouting seeds, pulses or grains causes their vitamin content to soar? Sprouts are also gentle on the digestive system, since they are, in effect ‘pre-digested’. Finally, they are rich in chlorophyll, which aids the body in the production of hemoglobin, which is crucial for the metabolism of cell energy.

*Plan ahead: One of the most common ways to spend more money than you need to is by buying without making a list. Rather than aimlessly shopping and sticking items in your shopping cart that simply look appealing at the moment, take the time to plan out your weekly menu and shop for only as many ingredients as you need to make your programmed dishes.

* Make time for home cooking: A lack of time is without a doubt the most common excuse for parents to avoid cooking for the family on a daily basis, yet top chefs like Jamie Oliver have shown that it is possible to whip up a healthy and super delicious meal in as little as 15 minutes. Cooking at home means you are not spending more than you need to on pre-packaged or pre-cooked foods (which are generally lacking in flavor and high in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar). Pre-cooked meals also come in much smaller portions than you can whip up at home for the same price or less and nothing beats the flavor of fresh, crisp, seasonal fruits and vegetables which are consumed when they are in their optimal state. Home food preparation will also enable you to dabble in recipes from other cultures, thereby opening the doors to the world of gastronomy to even the youngest members of your family.

* Bulk buy when you can: Fruits and vegetables should be consumed as fresh as possible; always try to source them from local farmers to ensure they haven’t chalked up too many food miles. However, other food items (especially spices and canned goods) can be bought in advance and stored for various months. Check out the deals offered by your local supermarkets and speak to friends about sharing bulk purchases, to lessen the pressure to consume everything before the expiry date.

* Don’t center every meal around meat or fish: Some of the cheapest meals to whip up for your family are vegetarian: think baked spuds, a vegetarian couscous with roast vegetables or homemade veggie burgers. These are all delicious dishes kids and adults alike will love, for a fraction of the price of meat or fish. As long as you are getting your required quotient of iron, Omega-3 fatty acids etc., feel free to try a few vegetarian and vegan recipes. Start off with raw vegan desserts; they are surprisingly easy to make and super delicious: think a creamy raw cacao pudding, rich chocolate cake or sweet yet refined sugar-free raw apple pie. All of these need to be savored to be believed. They truly are as good, if not better, than their baked counterparts.

These are just a few ideas for eating right on a budget; surely you can think up many of your own ways to eat for less: whether that means visiting local farmer’s markets, planning family meals in line with the season, purchasing more cheap yet incredibly nutritious superfoods or joining a local co-op. What will your way be?


Freelance Article by Helen Gorner

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