I grew up having healthy, home cooked meals that my mom was able to make frugally. My dad joined the Navy when I was 7, and my little brother was 2, so his income was very small for a family. Yet, growing up I never knew how little my mom used in keeping us fed. Her meals were always frugal, healthy and yummy!
While spending money wisely is not my strong suit, I am able to be very frugal in my grocery shopping and cooking, thanks to my mom’s great example.
Getting Ready to Go Grocery Shopping
Before I go grocery shopping, I always print out a master shopping list. I use this list to check my pantry, refrigerator and freezer contents. This extra step allows me to ensure I don’t buy something I don’t need, which keeps me from spending money unnecessarily. It also helps remind me to check things I often forget otherwise, like spices and tissues.
In making grocery lists I know a lot of people will write out a meal plan, to ensure they get everything they need for what they’re going to make. I have found this process to be beneficial at times, but it has also made me spend more money vs. just basing my grocery list on the basics. While writing my grocery list, I always keep in mind my families favorite recipes.
Many times people choose to buy name brand items, even when a less expensive option is available. While there are some items that I will only purchase name brand, typically I use the store brand. If I have never used an item before, I will try the store brand first, so as to not make an assumption that it is inferior.
When to Go Grocery Shopping
I prefer to shop on a monthly basis vs. a weekly basis. The only exceptions to this typically are eggs and milk. In shopping on a monthly basis, I find that I am less likely to buy unnecessary items and snacks.
Shopping once a month however is not always financially possible. Currently, I have to shop on a weekly basis. In order to remain frugal while shopping weekly, I look for the items on sale, and build my menu around these items.
How to Have Healthy, Home Cooked Meals
Healthy, frugal meals are possible. You must make wise choices in what and how you cook, so your family can have wholesome and balanced meals. These meals will require more time, and effort. Home cooked meals allow us to know exactly what we’re eating, and encourages us to eat wiser.
Ensuring that each meal consists of at least 2-3 of the food groups will help you in stepping towards a more healthy meal plan. Keeping fruit and veggies in your home is essential for healthy snack, lunch and dinner times. Eliminating ready made snacks and daily desserts will further encourage your family to eating more healthy.
Our Typical Healthy and/or Home Cooked Meals
Eating healthy in my home is a part of our daily lives. A day of well balanced meals is most important.
Breakfast typically is grain based, with milk to drink as the dairy source. Cereal, oatmeal, french toast, etc. are a few breakfast favorites in our home.
Snacks are fruits and granola bars usually.
Lunch varies from peanut butter or meat and cheese sandwiches, ravioli or leftovers from the previous nights’ dinner.
Dinner includes meat, grain, veggies and often protein, covering much of the food groups in one meal.
Dessert is not an everyday event. It is typically homemade and fruit based, though brownies and chocolate chip cookies are favorites.
You Can Do It!
Once you begin and make this part of your daily life, it will become like second nature to you and your family.
I encourage you to take this step in caring for your family while saving money along the way!
How do you ensure your family eats healthy frugally?