If you find yourself in the position of having to come up with meal ideas that will be both healthy and stay within a strict budget, you are not alone. But you can rest assured that it can be done, and with some helpful tips and a little practice, you can do it too.
Healthy Meals on a Budget should meet the following requirements:
1. Adequate amounts of all the food groups.
2. Low in refined carbs (ie white flour)
3. High in whole grains
4. Tasty and interesting
5. Easy to follow plan
If a budget plan is too difficult or stressful to follow, it will fail. Get your family involved and get their support. They may come up with some ideas that will pleasantly surprise you.
Where to start:
Determine where your food dollars have been going. How much money do you spend picking up fast food on the way home? How much money do you spend buying breakfast every morning on the way to work? How much money do you spend buying ready-made luxury items like pre-cooked meatloaf? Add it all up.
You may be surprised how much money a little bit of planning ahead could save you. Get family members to take turns making breakfast for everyone in the morning. Or try making muffins on the weekend and freeze. Microwave in the morning and presto!
Cook up a few meatloaves, and a few other family favorites on one day and freeze to use as emergency dinners another day.
When cooking a meal, base everything around a healthy, inexpensive food item. Here are some examples:
* Barley soup with vegetables and beef
* Brown rice with stir-fry vegetables (add an egg into the stir-fry if desired)
* Split pea soup with carrots and ham
* Baked potatoes with some toppings (sour cream, bacon, cheese etc.)
Serve lots of the base item, accompanied by enough of the add-ins to balance out the meal and keep everyone happy.