Eating healthy family meals on a budget is possible and will instil several good habits in your children that will stay with them throughout their life.
Decide on your budget
The first thing you need to do is decide on how much you have to spend on food after all your other outgoings, this can seem a little overwhelming but knowing your expenses well, can really help to cut down on costs and make sure you don’t overspend when planning. You can use a free online family budget calculator to help with this.
Make a menu every week or, better yet, every two weeks
If you sit down and purposefully write out a menu for your dinners, you will be more liable to stick to it than if you have that four o’clock panic of “what are we going to have for dinner?” Post your menu on the fridge so the children can see every morning what they are having that night. Make your shopping list accordingly.
Eat a lot of salad
It doesn’t have to be an elaborate salad; tomato, lettuce, baby carrots and half a sliced cucumber will do it for a family of four per night. Don’t blow your calories by loading up on shredded cheese and blue cheese dressing. If the children want to have just baby carrots or celery with mayonnaise to dip it in, let them have it. It will get them to like fresh vegetables. To be healthier, you can stick to a vinaigrette. If you have a salad every night for your vegetable, the produce won’t have a chance to go bad.
Eat a lot of homemade soup
Make a good, substantial meal on Monday, such as chicken and potatoes, so that you have some leftovers. Then use the leftovers in homemade chicken and vegetable soup on Tuesday. If you have a beef roast for one dinner, wait a couple of days and make a slow cooker chilli. The flavour of the meat will be even better, you can toss in leftover roasted vegetables with the chilli flavouring and nobody will be any the wiser.
When you do buy treats, try to make them healthy bars such as granola
Lock them up, along with any goodies that you have stashed for yourself, then have fresh fruit and dipping veggies on hand for the grazers in the family. Cut out crisps except for extra special occasions. The children really seem to get addicted to junk food and they cost way too much.
Cut out fizzy drinks
It has been proven that we drink many more bad calories than we eat. I know that the store-brand fizzy pop is cheap, but they are really unhealthy. Lucas loves drinking ice cold water in water bottles stashed in the fridge.
Don’t buy ice lollies
Make your own with reusable lolly moulds. Fill the cups half-full with watered fruit juice or make smoothies with juice, a little yoghurt and some berries, put in a stick and freeze them. Dip quickly in hot water to loosen. It’s way cheaper and healthier.