Nutritious Money and Time Saving Meals
Some tips to help you plan and prepare nutritious meals on a limited budget:
- Build time saving meals for main dishes around pasta or grains. Use noodles or rice, and combine them with a smaller amount of meat, poultry, fish, or meat alternates such as eggs. For example, prepare a main dish by combining rice, vegetables, and ham.
- Create variety by including a new nutritious food occasionally, along with old favorites. For example, potatoes are always a great healthy and nutritious choice. Consider Low Fat Mashed Potatoes or Crispy Baked Potatoes . Or how about a potato-vegetable combination such as a Potato Crust Vegetable Pizza.
- Involve family members in planning and preparing your time saving meals. This creates interest, teaches the kids basic food preparation skills, and lessens the workload for the food preparer.
- Make time saving meals easier to prepare by varying the methods used to cook foods. For example, if a slow cooker or pressure cooker is available, use either of these appliances to cook dry beans. The slow cooker does not require constant watching, and the pressure cooker requires much less time than the conventional stove top method.
- Go easy on fat, sugars, and sodium in preparing food items. For example, bake rather than deep-fry chicken or fish. This does not mean eliminating all fat, sugars, and sodium, only limiting the amount.
- Use herbs and spices, and other low fat flavorings rather than rich sauces and gravies.
- Take advantage of planned leftovers for time saving meals that also save food dollars. For example, prepare a roast, serve half of it, and freeze the remaining half to use later with vegetables for a quick soup.
- Do “batch cooking” when the food budget and time allow. Cook a large batch of spaghetti sauce, divide it into family-size portions, and freeze promptly for meals later in the month.
- Make one pot meals such as stews or hearty soups. These type of meals reduce the number of pots, pans, and other utensils that have to be washed.
- Save with powdered milk. Use powdered milk either in part or whole to save money. When powdered milk is cold, you hardly notice a difference, especially on cereal or in recipes.
- Plan snacks that give your family the nutrients they need. For example, buy fresh fruits in season like apples or peaches. Dried fruits like raisins or prunes, raw vegetables, crackers, and whole wheat bread are also good ideas for snacks. Make your own smart snacks – and don’t forget, Popcorn is a Whole Grain Snack!