Eating Well on a Budget

If you are finding it hard to make ends meet, every penny counts, and you can find yourself becoming obsessed with checking prices and stretching out your budget when you do your grocery shop. It can be hard work, and if you have kids pestering you for days out and new clothes you can feel pretty stressed out. However, this situation is faced by many people at different stages of their life, and it can be very depressing, but there are things you can do to spend less and eat better.

This is an area where you can save a great deal without compromising on taste and nutrition. Start by looking at what you are spending your grocery money on, and see where you could economize. Take rice for example. Wholegrain rice is a healthy, filling food that can be used in a range of tasty dishes. If you buy a packet of microwaveable rice that will be around $1.84 for 8.5 oz, compared to a 1lb bag of plain rice at 78 cents. That means the fancy rice is 22 cents per ounce against 5 cents per ounce for the plain rice, making it more than four times the price! You can apply this to pretty much all your groceries; anything that’s ready-cooked, processed or pre-prepared will be significantly more expensive than if you bought the constituent ingredients and cooked the meal yourself.

People often fall into the trap of buying a lot of high carb foods because they are cheaper, which is true to an extent. That doesn’t mean you have to have white bread and fries every day though. Wholemeal bread is a far healthier option and costs no more than white. The same goes for pasta; a bowl of spaghetti bolognese made with wholemeal pasta, tomatoes, and fresh ground beef is a delicious meal that is easy to make and includes protein, fiber, and the all-important vegetables. Buying your potatoes whole instead of getting bags of chips is much cheaper, plus you can cook the potatoes with their skins on for extra nutrition. You can do many different things with the potato, and a simple meal like jacket potatoes with beans and cheese is full of protein and fiber.

You may be thinking that buying cheaper ingredients and making your own meals sounds great in theory, but you just don’t have the time or energy with so much else going on in your life. Don’t despair; there are some great websites around that can give you hints and tips and simple recipe ideas, like pocket change gourmet. Another good idea is to involve the kids in preparing meals, so you don’t have to do all the work yourself. It can be great fun and a good way of spending time as a family to get into the kitchen together and make home-made pizzas.
Whatever your budget or situation, there are ways to manage what you have that will enable you to live well, be healthy and have fun, so get clever and find better ways to spend.

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