The easiest way to stretch your grocery budget is by purchasing high-quality, whole foods. Processed foods are fast and take little time or concentration to make, but whole foods don’t have to be a struggle. Splitting meals between crockpot cooking, casseroles and raw foods, all by itself, can offer consumers affordability and healthier meals.
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of whole foods:
1. Start using a crockpot.
Many of the biggest sale items at the grocery store are ingredients that take time and effort to cook. Tough pieces of meat, frozen vegetables and thick, starchy potatoes can all be had for low prices. Thanks to slow cooking, they can also be prepared with little effort and with just a few minutes of time. The rest of the process happens whether or not you’re around. Simply wash your vegetables, through them into the crockpot with a thick cut of meat, and once you return from work, you’ll have the makings of a succulent roast.
Pour in liquid stock and you have vegetable stew. Add sauce and serve over rice for fast, affordable and tasty Chinese food. There are many variations and easy recipes that rely on nutrient-rich whole foods.
You can also use your crockpot for preparing ingredients for other meals. Frozen foods like chicken and fish, thick meats and starchy vegetables are all served well by time in the slow cooker. Once you’re home, you’ll have everything you need to stretch those cheap groceries into meals that make them taste like the finest ingredients.
2. Create meal plans.
If you’re always running to the store for that one ingredient you don’t have on hand, you’ll be wasting money on food and on gas. Planning your meals in advance allows you to stock up on everything when you need it. You’re also able to plan your meals around the ingredients you find on sale. If you need to take out short-term financing to get a freezer full of the freshest beef available, too, it’s money well-spent. The fee you’re charged will pay for itself in future food savings.
Some families need more flexibility than a meal plan that’s set in stone, but you can still do a rough plan. Just have the ingredients you know you need on hand and then make the meals in whatever order you choose. Of course, some ingredients can be used in many types of dishes, and it’s a good idea to stock up on them when their prices are low.
These include salt and pepper, herbs, olive oil, balsamic and white vinegar, flour, baking soda and baking powder, evaporated milk, white and brown sugar, honey, long-grain or brown rice, quinoa or lentils, peanut butter, rolled oats, and bouillon or stock.
3. Measure your food.
One of the reasons American families consume so much food is the low quality of many options. Your body craves nutrients, and it will encourage you to eat as much as it needs to get them. Recommended portion sizes make much more sense when you’re feeding your body whole foods.
If you’re just making this change, your brain and your body may disagree for a while, and chances are you’ll waste a lot of food if you let your eyes make the decisions. As soon as you can, pick up a kitchen scale and start weighing out your portions. You won’t have to do this for very long, just long enough to begin to recognize how much food is really enough given your new recipes and ingredients.
Buying the best ingredients and planning meals around sales will help you improve your health and help you financially. If you’re working on learning how to spend less money or how to stretch your grocery budget, an auto pawn could help. Call your nearest Title Tree location for help now.